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Apples Tempt Us with Oral Health Benefits

Oct 02, 2014

By Dean George

We’ve all heard the expression, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but there are many reasons why apples are also good for our teeth and oral health. Below are five tangible benefits to making tangy apples a regular part of your diet. How about them apples?!

1) High Water Content Know what happens when you bite into a juicy apple? The high water content of the apple helps dilute the sugar and acid that routinely bivouacs in your mouth at Camp Tooth Residue. Also, biting and crunching an apple stimulates saliva that washes away leftover food particles that helps prevent plaque.

2) Edible Toothbrush Think of apples like a round toothbrush! Apples contain less folic acid than citrus fruits like oranges. Apples contain just 3 micrograms of folic acid compared to an orange’s 54 micrograms. The acid in citrus fruits can actually harm tooth enamel and neutralize health benefits if they are not consumed as part of larger meals. By comparison, chewing crunchy apples on a regular basis acts as an astringent and can help scrub stubborn stains off teeth.

3) Suppresses Hunger Apples are high in fiber. The fiber leaves you feeling full longer because of the time it takes a body to digest. Think of it this way: Adam and Eve may have been tempted by the apple in the Garden of Eden, but reaching for an apple now helps remove the temptation of snacking on less healthy options that are higher in sugar and fat.

4) Prevents Bad Breath Apples are Mother Nature’s breath freshener! The natural fibers in the skin and flesh of an apple scrub not only your teeth, but also your gums and tongue. This is where plaque likes to gather and hide before launching its bad breath offensive. If you’re ever hoped for a sweet good night kiss but were offered a cheek in return, adding apples to your food diet arsenal may prevent history from repeating itself.

5) Healthier Gums, Improved Saliva Flow As mentioned above, the process of chewing an apple helps massage gums and their natural water content increases the saliva flow. Since periodontal (gum) issues are caused by tooth decay, regularly eating apples can be credited with preventing gum disease. Likewise, since chewing apples creates more saliva in the mouth, this also counters the harmful side effects of common medications that reduce saliva flow and raise the risk of Xerostomia, or dry mouth disease.

A final note: while apples contain less folic acid than citrus fruits, and less sugar than most snacks, many apple varieties today contain considerably more fruit sugar than traditional apple varieties. For example, Braeburn, Pink Lady and Fuji applies contain more fruit sugar than more traditional varieties like Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. And new research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that even the average modern apple has 15% more sugar content, or four teaspoons, than “old school” apples.

A word to the wise: the nutritional goodness of apples still far outweighs the bad, but why upset the apple cart? After enjoying your apple, play it safe and swish water afterwards. This will help remove any sugar left on your teeth and help keep them in apple-pie order!

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