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Poor dental hygiene is undoubtedly the most important risk factor for tooth caries, but the intake of certain foods can also wreak havoc on the teeth. Though all fruit offers a broad range of nutrients, certain varieties may contain higher sugar concentrations due to their preparation methods. This may increase their ability to adhere to teeth and contribute to the formation of plaque acids.
WebMD explains that dry fruit concentrates all of the fruit’s nutrients into a smaller package.
“That means you eat less dried fruit by weight to reach the same caloric threshold of fresh fruit,” explains the health body.
This also means that the sugar content of fruit becomes concentrated, giving dried fruit its characteristic sticky consistency.
Some research has drawn attention to the potential impact of the fruit’s texture on dental health, specifically cavities.
According to the American Dental Association, the stickiness allows the fruit to become lodged in the crevices between the teeth.
Anything that is sweet and sticks to the teeth for prolonged periods has the ability to contribute to plaque formation or tooth decay.
Altura Periodontics explains: “Although dried fruit can be part of a healthy diet, the sticky consistency can cause them to adhere to teeth.
“Plus, the plaque acid these foods create can harm your teeth long after you’ve finished eating.
“Exchange dried fruit for fresh fruit whenever possible. Snack on grapes instead of raisins to avoid unhealthy teeth.”
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Dental caries is a cumulative disease in which bacteria in dental plaque ferment sugar present in the oral cavity, resulting in the production of acid.
When the pH in the mouth falls below 5.5, the tooth enamel softens, and after repeated insults can continue to tooth cavities and caries.
One simple way to avoid complications from the high-sugar composition of dried fruit is to drink enough water afterwards.
The NHS explains: “Dried fruit should be eaten at mealtimes, not as a between-meal snack, to reduce the risk of tooth decay.”
According to WebMD, opting for fresh fruit instead of dried ones may also help avoid other complications like unwanted weight gain.
“While dried fruit is high in fibre, its high sugar content can actually lead to weight gain.”
One 30-gram portion of dried fruits is roughly equivalent to 80 grams of fresh fruit.
What’s more, the high fibre content of fresh fruit is accompanied by high water content.
Both of these factors help you feel full faster, thus consuming fewer calories overall.
It’s equally important to note that reports have highlighted a number of potentially positive attributes for dental health from eating dried fruit.
This includes the need to chew the fruit, which encourages salivary flow and boosts levels of other anti-microbial compounds.
Hence, the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition suggested in 2016, that advice on dried fruit consumption take into account the nutritional benefits, which include high-fibre and other useful micronutrients.
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