Fruit is a great choice for healthy snacking for kids, but what about the sugar content in some fruits? We have all heard that eating sugary foods can lead to tooth decay, so is the sugar in fruit okay? Let’s break it down a bit and find out the smart choices when it comes to healthy fruit snacks.
First, the real culprit isn’t actually sugar. Dental cavities are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrate debris left on the teeth after you eat. Such carbohydrate debris can include the refined sugars found in candy and other sweet treats, but can also come from even healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
When digesting these carbohydrates, bacteria in your mouth produces an acid that combines with saliva to form plaque, and it is plaque, not sugar, that leads to tooth decay. Plaque starts building up after every meal, and if it isn’t brushed away, it can eat away at the enamel of teeth and , resulting in tiny holes in the tooth’s surface. These holes mark the first stage of cavity formation.
Ultimately, sugar is just one of many carbs that can land kids in the dentist’s chair, but that doesn’t mean kids should avoid sugar in fruits entirely as fruit has many benefits for teeth as well. Here are our top picks for healthy fruit snacks to keep on your child’s daily menu.
APPLES: Apples are like a natural toothbrush, plus they are loaded with various vitamins and minerals. Biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, which can help reduce tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.
KIWIS: Kiwis are a great source of vitamin C, which helps in maintaining the collagen network in gums and helps in preventing periodontal disease.
PEARS: Pears can also protect kids teeth by helping to stimulate saliva production, and since pears contain a significant amount of water already, they can help further reduce the risk of enamel damage from acid.
WATERMELON: Watermelon is also rich in Vitamin C and it also has anti-oxidant properties that help prevent cell damage and ensure healthy gums.
Keep in mind, of course, that regardless of diet, kids have to maintain a good oral hygiene routine in order to keep their mouths and smiles in tip top shape. Brushing and flossing regularly as well as regular dental visits will go hand in hand with a healthy diet to keep the cavities away.