Why do Some Healthy Foods Cause Tooth Decay?

One British mother was very unhappy when her five-year-old son needed a tooth pulled. Like many parents, she didn’t give her son soda or fruit juice often and couldn’t understand how his teeth had gotten so bad.

After asking her dentist, it turned out that the culprit was a healthy food. It was dried fruit like raisins, and dried apricots that were causing the problem. Dried fruits are considered healthy foods, but can be very harmful to teeth. Because dried fruits are sticky, it is hard to remove them from the grooves and pits of teeth. If bits of dried fruit are trapped in teeth for too long, the sugar in them feeds bacteria (plaque) and the bacteria produce acid. This acid decays the teeth.

Many healthy foods like fruits are high in acid, which can also cause damage (erosion) to teeth. Eating sticky foods in moderation and drinking water or chewing gum after eating can help wash away some of those acids and bring the PH of the mouth to a neutral/normal level.  If you want to have dried fruits, try to have them at mealtimes and not snack in between meals to keep cavities at bay.

Talk to us if you have questions about foods that could be harming your teeth and how to fight against tooth decay.

Listen to the mother discuss the situation here on BBC radio: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02wwbq2