Apples: Dental Hygiene Facts
We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But apples may keep the dentist away too. Apples are a naturally sweet, low-calorie alternative to cavity-causing, sugary snacks like candy and fruit juice – plus they clean your teeth while you eat them! The next time your child is craving something sweet, try replacing soda or juice with some fresh apple slices!
Benefits of Apples
- Apples make gums healthier. Apples contain about 15% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, which helps keep your gums healthy. Without this vitamin, your gums become more vulnerable to infection, bleeding and gum disease. If you have periodontal disease, a lack of vitamin C increases bleeding and swelling.
- Apples are nature’s toothbrush. Chewing the fibrous texture of the fruit and its skin can stimulate your gums, reduce cavity-causing bacteria and increase saliva flow. Like other crisp, raw vegetables and fruits, apples can also gently remove plaque trapped between teeth.
- Apples strengthen your bones. Apples have potassium. Potassium improves bone mineral density. Your teeth are made from bone. ‘Nuff said.
- Apples help regulate weight. Loaded with soluble fiber, apples can help lower your cholesterol and improve your blood sugar regulation.
- Apples fight heart disease. Although the research hasn’t proven it yet, there’s an apparent link between gum health and heart health. Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes, and both contribute to inflammation in the body. Apples contain antioxidants that lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.
It’s never too early to talk to your children about their health. By helping them learn about nutrition, you are preparing them to make healthier decisions throughout their lives!
Is the acidity in apples bad for my child’s teeth?
According to a study published in the Journal of Dentistry, apples may be even more acidic than soda. But the negative effects of acidity in any foods you eat, like processed meats and coffee, can easily be prevented if you follow these tips:
- Eat apples with another snack. Consider serving your child apple slices with a small serving of cheese, a glass of milk or crackers. Whatever you choose, other foods will help neutralize the acid in the apple – especially if they’re high in calcium.
- Rinse with a glass of water. In general, it’s just a good idea to drink a glass of water or rinse after eating. Water helps rinse away acid and food particles that have collected between your teeth.
- Wait to brush. Brushing immediately after eating any sugary food is not a good idea. The sugar will act like sandpaper and damage your tooth enamel. Have your kids wait at least 30 minutes after sugary snacks to brush.