Fall is officially here, and we are ready to enjoy all the fun of the season. At the top of our list is apple picking. Since September is National Apple Month this is the perfect time to head to an orchard and get a bushel of apples. Not only is apple picking a fun and safe social distancing activity for families, but it also gives families an opportunity to stock up on one of your dentist’s favorite foods.
Apples always show up on a list of healthy foods to eat, and there are several reasons why Houston dentists recommend eating them.
Apples are Nature’s Toothbrush
When chewing the fibrous texture of an apple and its skin, you are receiving the benefits of nature’s toothbrush. Crisp fruits and veggies work wonders at removing the plaque from teeth and reducing cavity-causing bacteria. Finish off your meal by biting into an apple.
Apples are Great for Your Gums
The vitamins in apples (particularly Vitamin C) are great for your gums. For example, Vitamin C (which apples are packed with) keeps your gums healthy and prevents infection. If you don’t get enough Vitamin C, then you run the risk of infection. Plus, if you already suffer from gum disease, this lack of Vitamin C will lead to swelling and bleeding gums.
Apples are Packed with Nutrients and Vitamins
In addition to Vitamin C, apples are packed with other nutrients and vitamins. For example, apples contain malic acid, which makes you salivate while eating an apple. Saliva is important for healthy teeth. Additionally, apples have calcium, which makes teeth strong. Plus, apples have fiber, which your body needs.
Apple Chewing Boosts Saliva Production
As we mentioned, the malic acid in apples causes you to salivate while chewing. This is a good thing! Saliva is like a rinse for your teeth. The saliva in your mouth works as a defense against bacteria and prevents plaque.
Apples are a Healthy Substitute for Sugar
It’s natural to crave something sweet, but unfortunately, many of the sweets we crave aren’t good for our teeth. Sweet treats tend to contain a lot of sugar, which your Houston dentist does not recommend. Instead of putting your hand in the cookie jar, go for the fruit basket and choose an apple instead.
Apples are Good for Your Overall Health
While there are many benefits to eating apples for your teeth, apples are also good for your overall health. Apples strengthen your bones, help you lose weight, and more. According to WebMD, “Scientists also give apples credit for helping:
- Your lung strength
- Your heart
- With asthma
- Bone health
- Weight loss
- Your brain (easing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related memory loss)
- Your immune system
- Your gut health
When Apples Become a Problem
As much as we would like to tell you an apple a day keeps the dentist away, that simply isn’t true. Apples are not a replacement for brushing your teeth and flossing. In fact, eating too many apples can actually be a bad thing. Some studies have found that some apples can be as bad as carbonated beverages.
According to the Daily Mail, “Dental experts are warning that the fruit should no longer be treated as snacks between meals because of its high level of sugar and acidity which erode teeth.” Unfortunately, this is the result of the sugar content in apples rising from new apples that are cross-bred to have a sweeter taste.
The article also reports, “Tom Sanders, a professor in nutrition and dietetics at King’s College, London, studied tooth decay in youngsters and found that those from vegan or ‘fruitarian’ families, who eat only fruit, often had the worst teeth.” For example, young people who drink an excessive amount of apple juice will have worse teeth than their peers who drink milk and fluoridated water.
So, the answer is no, an apple a day won’t keep the dentist away. Eat apples in moderation.
Moreover, there are also instances when eating apples become a problem, such as when you have braces. Delta Dental explains, “Eating an apple requires biting with your front teeth’s slicing power. Think of the amount of pressure eating a whole apple would place on your braces. Your front teeth alone have the force of 70 pounds! Assuming your braces are located on your front teeth, those front braces would take most of this apple-biting pressure.” And that is how you wind up with broken brackets.
Tooth Friendly Apple Recipes
Encourage your little ones to eat apples by letting them dip their apples into a healthy yogurt dip. For example, give them plain yogurt with a hint of vanilla extract or cinnamon and cut up apples. It will quickly become their favorite afternoon treat!
Another idea is to make a fruit salad that really showcases the apple flavor. Here is a recipe for Crunchy Apple Salad from Colgate:
- 1 large unpeeled apple, chopped
- 1 large rib of celery, chopped
- Lettuce leaves
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 1/4 cup raisins
- Combine all these ingredients except the lettuce in a bowl, and gently mix.
- Cover the bowl, and chill it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Arrange a lettuce leaf on a plate and place a scoop of apple salad on top.
If biting into apples isn’t great for your tooth situation, you can still enjoy the taste by eating sugar-free applesauce.
Here is a recipe for Slow Cooker Cider Applesauce (no sugar added) from All Recipes:
- 5 pounds apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Layer apples into a slow cooker. Sprinkle cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg over the apples.
- Cook on High until apples are soft, 4 to 5 hours. Whisk apples vigorously for a chunkier-style applesauce. Puree with an immersion blender for a smoother applesauce.
Schedule your annual fall check-up with Greenspoint Dental in Houston today!