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It’s The Apple Floss-ophy: Leading Dental Hygienist Hails an Apple a Day to Prevent Dental Decay

  • Eight out of ten adults in the UK have one or more teeth with decay,
    which have either been filled or pulled out
  • More than one in five children show signs of tooth decay
  • Tooth decay is the most common noncommunicable disease worldwide
  • The new year sees health resolutions come to the fore for millions of Brits, and while many focus on weight loss, skin upkeep and fitness levels, looking after our teeth and oral health is just as important

Recent research has shockingly found that almost eight out of ten adults in the UK have one or more teeth with decay, that have either been filled or pulled out. Tooth decay is also extremely common in children, with more than one in five showing signs. What’s more, dental caries (also known as tooth decay or dental cavities) is the most common noncommunicable disease worldwide.

British Apples and Pears, the body representing UK apple and pear growers, has partnered with leading dental hygienist and therapist Anna Middleton and founder of London Hygienist, to champion the humble apple as the optimum, affordable and healthy snack to start the new year – the key to healthy teeth and a healthy mouth.

Bacteria in the mouth converts the sugars that we eat into acid. That acid can damage the mineral layer – the enamel – on our teeth, which can lead to decay or cavities. Choosing fruits that are low in acidity and sugar – like apples – means getting plenty of your daily vitamins and antioxidants without impacting your teeth’s enamel. Meanwhile, fruits that are very sweet or very sour, such as pineapple or mango, are best enjoyed in moderation.

Middleton comments: “If you want to snack between meals, I recommend opting for fresh fruit such as apples and pairing them with something alkaline such as cheese, instead of consuming lots of dried fruit, which is high in sugar.”

What’s more, foods lower in free or added sugar are generally better for your oral health. Keeping your intake of free sugars low, including sugar-sweetened drinks and milk-based sweetened drinks, can help minimise the risk of dental caries throughout our lives.

Apples are also packed with fibre which is vital to keep our digestion and gut healthy including our gut microbiota. A healthy gut microbiota is also essential for supporting our immune system.

When it comes to your fruit intake, there’s no question that eating the whole fruit including the skin is the best option for your teeth.

Leading dental hygienist and therapist, Anna Middleton, shares her top recommendations for preventing tooth decay:

  1. Reduce your consumption of food and drink with high sugar content. Try to proactively minimise the amount and frequency you are consuming such foods
  2. Avoid sugar-containing foods and drinks at bedtime when saliva flow is reduced
  3. If you do have food or drink with added sugar, make them part of a meal and not a between-meal snack
  4. Low acid and low sugar fresh fruit such as British apples are great snacks to eat between meals for healthy teeth

British apples offer a huge variety of health benefits that make it a far better option than other sugary or processed foods. At just 77 calories, they are ideal for those looking for a healthy way to start the new year. They also offer great value for money, store really well in the fridge and keep your food miles low, as they are home grown.

With a high fibre content, made up of 86% water and full of essential nutrients, it’s easy to make apples our go-to snack – great for our teeth, our wallets and overall health.

References

[1] Dentistry Today

[2] Sugars and dental caries (who.int)

[3] Is Fruit Bad For Your Teeth? | National Dental Care / DB Dental

[4] https://www.dentalhealth.org/diet-and-my-teeth

[5] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sugars-and-dental-caries

[6] www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-apples

[7] Gov.co.uk – Chapter 10: Healthier Eating

[8] https://www.nationaldentalcare.com.au/article/is-fruit-bad-for-your-teeth