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dried fruit oral health

Dried Fruit and Oral Health: What You Need to Know

Did you know that only 10% of Americans meet the minimum recommendation for daily fruit servings? Fruit isn’t just a sweet treat for breakfast; fruit can be a wonderful source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), antioxidants, and fiber. As a bonus, diets rich in fruits (and vegetables) can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Benefits of dried fruit

Nutritionists recommend eating a certain number servings per day (ranging from one cup for children and up to 2 cups per day for men), and those servings can come from fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice, and even dried fruit. Dried fruit is a popular choice for many people because:

  • Dried fruit is not as fragile as fresh fruit
  • It is easy to carry to work or school
  • Dried fruit has a much longer shelf life than fresh fruit
  • Due to high fiber content, dried fruit helps regulate the digestive system
  • Dried fruit is convenient as it does not need to be washed, peeled, or cut

Dried fruit and dental issues

Despite the health benefits of dried fruit, you may have heard that dried fruit is not an ideal food, regarding dental health.

  • Sticky: The American Dental Association recommends avoiding sticky foods, especially for those with dental appliances in their mouth. Sticky foods can also cause problems because the food sits on the teeth longer than other foods.
  • Sugar content: Because excess sugar consumption can lead to dental caries, many individuals worry that eating too much dried fruit can introduce too much sugar into the mouth. Ounce per ounce, dried fruit contains more sugar than fresh. However, the portion size of dried fruit is 30 grams compared to 80 grams of fresh fruit.
  • Damage to dental pieces: The stickiness of dried fruit can cause damage to braces, crowns, or other orthodontic pieces.

So is dried fruit good for us? Overall, yes. There are many positive benefits to eating dried fruit, especially if it hard for you to meet your minimum intake goals of fruit each day. Are the risks to dental health too much to risk? Eating dried fruit can be done with a few precautions.

But I love dried fruit! Now what?

Can’t get enough dried apricots in your oatmeal? Do you kids love raisins in their lunchbox? The good news is that dried fruit doesn’t have to be completely cut out of your diet! The British Nutrition Foundation studied the effects of dried fruit on dental health, particularly in children. Surprisingly, dried fruit “sticks” more to teeth when eaten alone. The solution? Include dried fruit with your meal rather than a stand-alone snack.

Additionally, after consuming dried fruit, dentists recommend the following:

  • Eat the recommended serving size of dried fruit to avoid eating too much sugar in one sitting
  • Rinse with water after eating dried fruit
  • Flossing: Pre-flossed flossers may be ideal in this situation
  • Brush your teeth: After eating any sticky or sugary food, brushing is recommended.

If you have questions about your particular dental history, call Dupont Dental today to learn how dried fruit may affect your specific dental appliances.