Who doesn’t love fruit? They’re sweet, delicious, and healthy ways to pack your diet with the essential nutrients you need. Fruits and veggies have always been associated with a healthy lifestyle, and dental health is no exception.
Generally, fruits and veggies are a great choice to promote healthy teeth and gums due to their high water and fiber content, as well as the wealth and variety of essential vitamins and antioxidants. Fruits and veggies require lots of vigorous chewing, which stimulates saliva production, increasing the natural protection of tooth enamel. These benefits usually outweigh the downsides to fruit like sugar content and acidity—but all fruits aren’t created equal.
Here are the best fruits for healthy teeth, as well as a few to eat in moderation.
Watermelon: Known for its high water content and refreshing taste, watermelon has many properties that make it ideal for maintaining a healthy smile. The high water content helps to clean teeth naturally, rinsing debris from between teeth and around gums. These fruits contain antioxidants that promote a healthy immune system, helping the body fight off bacteria that could lead to gum disease. Watermelon also contains vitamin C, which can also help kill bad bacteria and strengthen gums.
Apples: Due to their high fiber content and undeniable crunch, apples naturally scrub teeth clean. They’ve been called “nature’s toothbrush,” and the thick skin and fibrous flesh of apples effectively clears build-up and plaque off teeth.
Pears: Unlike citrus fruits like lemon, raw pears have been shown to neutralize acids in the mouth. This protects tooth enamel, which can be worn down by too much acidity.
Pineapple: Pineapples are a fairly acidic fruit, but they also have tons of benefits that help keep your mouth healthy. Like watermelons, pineapples are high in vitamin C, which increases the body’s ability to rid itself of bacteria and toxins which promotes healthy gums. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, helps to reduce inflammation and help with healing.
Strawberries: Strawberries give you the nutritional benefits of citrus without the harsh acidity. A half cup of strawberries provides more than 70 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin C, promoting gum strength and integrity. While strawberries are known for staining things red, that’s not the case with your teeth. These little powerhouses contain malic acid, an organic compound that actually helps to naturally whiten teeth.
While all fruit contains high amounts of vitamins and antioxidants, some of nature’s candy can be harsh on oral health.
Dried Fruit: When looking for healthy snacks, many people opt for dried fruits. While these are good in theory, they don’t promote oral health like fresh fruits do. Dried fruits have a higher concentration of sugar than fresh fruits and some varieties have lots of added sugars as well. In addition, these chewy treats can get stuck between teeth and promote the growth of harmful bacteria.
Citrus: While still rich in vitamin C, highly acidic citrus fruits such as lemon and grapefruit can be harmful to your teeth. These fruits eat away at the tooth’s natural enamel, damaging it over time. The best want to prevent damage from these fruits is to eat them with lots of water and brush about thirty minutes after you’re finished snacking.