Fruit is healthy, but some people are concerned that its high sugar content could increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay. Here are five tips for optimising your fruit consumption to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

1. Enjoy As Much Fresh Fruit As Possible

Research suggests that there is no need to limit fresh fruit to protect your teeth. In fact, people who often eat fresh fruit have fewer cavities than individuals who don't eat much fruit. Whole fruits, like apples and pears, contain fibres that scrapes plaque from teeth as you eat them. Use fresh fruit to replace sugary or starchy snacks to protect your oral health.

2. Cut Back on Juice

While whole fruits are good for your teeth, the juice is much less beneficial. Juicing gets rid of healthy fibre to leave only concentrated sugar and acid. These substances work together to soften enamel and feed the bacteria that cause cavities. Instead of reaching for a carton of fruit juice, eat an apple, plum or peach to satisfy your sweet craving and drink some water to quench your thirst.

3. Eat Dried Fruit in Moderation

Dried fruit has plenty of fibres, but its sticky consistency makes it prone to sticking to the ridged surfaces of the molars. This gives bacteria an opportunity to feast on the fruit sugars and create acids that attack your teeth. Some dried fruits also contain added sugars to make them sweeter. While dried fruit is fine as an occasional treat, try to reach for fresh fruit instead where possible.

4. Brush at the Right Times

Some people think that cleaning their teeth immediately after eating dried fruit or drinking juice will limit the effects of the sugars and acids in these foods. However, dentists recommend that you wait at least 30 minutes after eating acidic foods before you brush. This delay is necessary because the acid softens dental enamel, which means that scrubbing at your tooth with a toothbrush can wear the enamel away.

If you do not have time to wait 30 minutes after your morning orange juice, brush before breakfast instead. The fluoride in the toothpaste will strengthen your enamel to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

5. Enjoy Fruit in Balance With Other Healthy Foods

Fruit is important for good health, but you also need other types of food to protect your dental health. Fruit contains very little calcium, which is essential for building strong teeth. Avoid extreme diets, such as fruitarianism, and instead eat fruit in combination with calcium-rich foods, such as beans, seeds, leafy green vegetables and dairy or fortified plant milks.

Reach out to a dentist near you to learn more.