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The effects of fruit on kids teeth

 
You think you’re doing the right thing. Your kids brush their teeth twice a day and don’t eat too many sweet treats, so why do they still get cavities? We look at how fruit in their diet can affect our children’s teeth and how to help minimise the problems.
You think you’re doing the right thing. Your kids brush their teeth twice a day and don’t eat too many sweet treats, so why do they still get cavities?

We all know fruit is good for us. It’s tasty, full of vitamins and a very important part of your child’s diet. However, too much fruit (fresh, juiced, dried or canned) can contribute to problems such as cavities and erosion, especially if your child is grazing on fruit all day.

We look at how fruit in their diet can affect our children’s teeth and how to help minimise the problems.
 

The effects of fruit on kids teeth

 

1. Fresh fruit


Fresh fruit has lots of natural sugar and some like oranges, berries and apples are quite acidic.

Bits of fruit can get stuck in between their teeth and if your kids are snacking on them all the time, it’s a constant source of sugar in their mouth.
 

2. Fruit juices


Fruit juices are high in sugar and often very acidic. The main problem with juice is that kids often sip them slowly throughout the day. This means there is a constant source of sugar and acid in your child’s mouth.

The acidity from the juice can contribute to tooth erosion and the constant supply of sugar can contribute to cavities.

Try to encourage your child to drink water throughout the day instead.
 

3. Dried fruit


Dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, mangoes and apples are also very high in sugar. The removal of water through the drying process makes them a more concentrated sugar source than their fresh fruit counterparts.

They are also very sticky and can get caught in the teeth. This means sugar is sitting on your child's teeth for many hours, giving bacteria the chance to have a feast!

New studies have shown that some dried fruit such as raisins (there are particular compounds found in raisins that may help prevent tooth decay) and cranberries (they have high levels of calcium which can help strengthen teeth) may have some dental benefits in helping prevent decay.

However, once these fruits are stuck in your child's teeth the benefits may not be present anymore, but the sugar definitely will be.
 

4. Canned fruits


Canned fruits are very high in sugar, particularly because the syrup the fruit is preserved in also has added sugar.

If your child will only eat fruit this way, make sure they eat it all at once and that they drink water straight away afterwards.
 

Helpful tips when it comes to kids & fruit


1. Definitely don't limit or reduce your child’s fruit intake, but instead monitor it and don’t allow them to graze.

2. Floss out any bits of fruit stuck between your child’s teeth as soon as you can.

3. Don’t brush your child’s teeth straight after drinking juice or eating acidic fruits as this can wear their teeth away more quickly. The natural acid in juice and some fruit can make the surface of the teeth temporarily soft, so are more susceptible to abrasion from tooth brushing. Wait until your child has rinsed their mouth with water before brushing their teeth.

4. Get your child to drink water or swish water around in their mouth after eating fruit or drinking juice to help flush away the natural sugars and help neutralise the acids in their mouth.
 

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