Chances are, there a lot of people who could tell you what an apple a day does for you, according to the old saying. Aside from keeping the doctor away, however, apples have a complicated relationship with your oral health, and possess properties that can be both helpful and harmful to your teeth. Your Syosset dentist, Dr. Richard Kobak, explores what happens to your teeth as you bite into nature’s delight.
Apples—Good for Your Teeth
For some people, the words apples and oral health in the same sentence may conjure images of apple skin pieces lodged between their teeth after every bite. While this is certainly an inconvenience, it does not necessarily pose a threat to your oral health, unless ignored. In fact, the fibrous texture of the apple is actually good for your teeth, and acts like nature’s little toothbrush as it helps scrub minor stains from the surfaces of your teeth. The water content in apples also generates saliva, which helps regulate your mouth’s pH level (acid-alkaline balance) and provides minerals to strengthen your tooth enamel.
Apples—Bad for Your Teeth
While fruits and vegetables are traditionally health foods, the apples you see in the market today are not the same as the apples your parents may have encouraged you to eat. Thanks to cross-breeding efforts that are aimed at providing consumers with an unnaturally sweet product, today’s apples contain nearly 50% more sugar than naturally grown apples. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which then convert it into lactic acid that erodes your tooth enamel and paves the way for the development of tooth decay. The astringent twang of an apple is also due to its naturally acidic nature, which contributes to tooth decay directly by bypassing the bacterial metabolization stage.
Handle with Care
In moderation, and with a little forethought, the harmful aspects of an apple can be largely negated by its benefits. Dr. Kobak recommends eating an apple as part of a meal, such as the dessert, rather than as a stand-alone snack. Also, rinse your mouth with water after you finish the fruit to further neutralize acid and rinse away any lingering debris. To learn more about nutrition and oral health, or to speak with your Syosset dentist, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kobak by calling our Syosset dental office at (516) 433-2211. We welcome patients from Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk, and the surrounding New York City neighborhoods.