Is Fruit Bad for my Child's Teeth? by Hannah Telfer
14th April 2022
Is your child a big fruit bat? Fruit is a great snack loved by many, especially kids, but although there are health benefits, there are also some downsides to be aware of. Parents are often surprised when we tell them that fruit can be the cause of tooth decay and cavities in their kids’ teeth.
The enamel on baby teeth is softer and thinner than enamel on adult teeth, therefore, making baby teeth more likely to produce decay. However, it’s not only unhealthy sugars in junk food that can cause tooth decay, it is also natural sugars! The natural sugar in fruit can erode the enamel on baby teeth, similar to how artificial sugar does. Except, it's not only the sugars in the fruit that can cause bacteria to produce acid that causes decay, fruits are also acidic and this acid can damage the tooth enamel.
In the mouth the pH level is consistent at around 6-7pH, this range doesn’t erode your enamel. However, high acid foods such as oranges, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and even grapes - can decrease the pH level in the mouth change, which can lead to erosion of the enamel. Acidic fruits are a pH level of 2-4 when consumed. Children who eat a lot of fruit can develop holes in the tooth enamel or the tooth structure can erode in a short time frame. For this reason it is important that if your child is a fruit lover, these simple considerations are taken into account - to reduce the likelihood of decay and/or erosion.
To prevent acidic fruits from causing harm to baby teeth there are a couple of things that can be done.
- Make sure your child eats fruit in moderation. It’s also best to consume fruit in one sitting, instead of grazing on it for a long period.
- Drinking water dilutes the pH level in the saliva, swishing water around in the mouth is best practice.
- Eating a few little cubes of tasty cheese or low lactose cheese for lactose intolerant people, after consuming fruit. Tasty cheese increases the production of saliva, therefore, neutralising the acid within the mouth.
- Use products such as Tooth Mousse to help reverse early acidic erosion
Other fruits such as bananas, rockmelon and mangoes are lower in acid and also make great snacks, or even throw some vegies in like carrot sticks and baby cucumbers.
Decay and erosion in a child's mouth can lead to pain, early loss of teeth, higher risk of decay in their adult set of teeth and dental phobia. So it is important to make sure that your child's teeth are well looked after.
Regular check ups and cleans are essential to prevent decay or spot it in it’s early stages, before it becomes a big problem.