How Apples Affect Your Oral Health
Learn about how apples affect oral health for International Eat an Apple Day!
The Benefits of Eating Apples
What do most celebrations have in common? Food, glorious food! From meatballs to sandwiches, fruit punch to cocktails, cookies to cakes and watermelon to apples, the list of delicious food goes on and on.
Though most of these foods are perfectly fine to eat in moderation, a balanced diet ensures you get the vitamins and nutrients you need to maintain your health. International Eat an Apple Day was established to recognize the more than 100 world-wide cultural celebrations honoring the apple harvest and help promote a healthy diet. It is held on the third Saturday of September each year.
Did you know that apples are nature's toothbrush? Apples can gently remove plaque from your teeth by simply eating them. The fruit also stimulates an alkaline saliva flow, which neutralizes the acid produced by plaque after eating carbohydrate-rich foods.
Other oral health benefits of eating apples include:
- They increase saliva production.
- Apples contain vitamin C to help protect the gums from inflammation, infection, and bleeding.
- Apples contain potassium to strengthen teeth and bone.
Apples also help fight against heart disease and help you lose weight. While they are high in fiber, it is important to eat them in moderation because they are high in sugar and acidity.
When you eat an apple:
- Eat it with other foods to help neutralize the acidity.
- Rinse with water afterwards.
- Brush your teeth 30 minutes after eating an apple to minimize the potential damaging effects to your tooth enamel.
- Eat your apple in one sitting. Slowly snacking on it allows the sugar and acid to sit on your teeth for a longer period. The acid can cause tooth decay.
It is no secret that daily brushing and flossing helps you to maintain healthy teeth and gums. However, your food choices also play a role in your oral health.
Food Choices and Your Teeth
Cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth loves starchy and sugary foods. It is important to choose foods that can nourish your teeth, body, and mind. Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and practicing good oral hygiene promotes a healthy mouth.
The following foods and drinks are healthy for your teeth and gums:
- Water, unsweetened-tea, and unsweetened-coffee
- Freshly squeezed/juiced fruits and vegetable drinks
- Yogurt, cheese, and milk (dairy)
- Fatty fish and meats
- Kiwi fruits
- Whole grains
- Sweet potatoes
- Garlic and Onions
Limit foods and drinks that offer little-to-no health benefits such as:
- Artificial fruit juices
- Ice cream
- Commercial pizzas
- Commercial white bread
- Sweetened breakfast cereals
- Deep fried foods
More Dietary Tips to Keep Your Smile Healthy
- Avoid constantly snacking throughout the day to limit a constant stream of food particles sticking to your teeth and chemical reactions with the bacteria in your mouth that produce acids harmful to your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating if you are unable to brush right away. This will remove a good portion of food particles between your teeth
- Wait at least 30 minutes to brush after eating acidic foods like fruits, coffee, and juices. The acid in the food can temporarily weaken tooth enamel, so it is best to wait a bit before brushing them.
Munching on fibrous foods like apples, jicama, and pear in combination with water helps stimulate saliva production, washing away plaque and food particles. However, it does not replace brushing and flossing.
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day and floss daily.
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and to get your teeth professionally cleaned.
- Discuss any diet plans that may affect your oral health with your dentist.
Note: The information in this document is not meant to replace the advice of your dentist or another licensed healthcare professional. Talk to your dentist for any specific dental advice.