By Dean George
The calendar tells us it’s officially fall, and you know what that means! It’s time to babble about apples!
Apples and fall are as synonymous as America and apple pie. They are as Americana as mom baking an apple pie on the engine block of a NASCAR Chevrolet. Has any fruit contributed more to mankind’s development than apples?
Exhibit A: In the beginning, apples were the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Naturally, Adam and Eve had to indulge themselves in the one apple variety they were instructed not to eat. Otherwise, we’d all be happily tending gardens with perfect teeth and no need of dental coverage – or clothes.
Exhibit B: Sir Isaac Newton, a scientist of great gravitas, learned that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when one conked him in the noggin while he contemplated the Law of Gravity.
Exhibit C: William Tell’s son may have been the apple of his father’s eye, but legend tells us it was the one he shot off his son’s head that spared both their lives. That surely upset the apple cart of the man whose ego he crushed when Tell refused to tip his hat.
As previously reported in Dental Wire, apples tempt us today with many oral health benefits, including:
Chewing crunchy apples helps scrub stains off teeth The high water content of apples stimulates the saliva that helps prevent plaque Chewing apples helps massage gums, warding off periodontal disease The natural fibers in apples and apple skins help freshen breath Apples are rich in fiber, helping suppress hunger
Apples are also credited with protecting us against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Type 2 diabetes and different cancers. How about them apples? Studies have also indicated that apples can help reduce cholesterol, prevent cataracts, detoxify livers, and prevent gallstones.
Comparing the health benefits of apples to the oral health benefits however, is like comparing apples to oranges.
As pertaining to oral health, did you know that apples are sometimes referred to as an edible toothbrush? This is because they contain only 3 micrograms of folic acid compared to the 54 micrograms found in oranges. The acids in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and pineapples can strip tooth enamel if eaten apart from larger meals, but just the act of chewing crunchy apples regularly helps scrub away tooth stains.
Crunching apples also stimulates the production of saliva that can counter the harmful side effects of medications that reduce saliva and can lead to Xerostomia, or dry mouth disease.
Apples are also high in antioxidants and fiber. Both Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples have been listed on WebMD and other sources as a top-20 food for antioxidants. Researchers believe antioxidants repair oxidation damage that occurs during normal cell activity. Earlier we wrote about how important antioxidants found in oolong and green teas are in fighting tooth decay and preventing oral cancer.
The fiber found in apples is called pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber found in plants and a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of it. Pectin has been studied as an anticancer agent and is believed to lower the bad cholesterol that hardens arteries and causes heart problems and strokes.
As you can see, an apple a day will do more than keep the doctor away. It also goes a long way toward keeping your teeth healthy and your dentist happy.
Before you rush out to buy apples after reading this post, be aware that many of the newer apple varieties contain more fruit sugar than the old-school apples mentioned above. Pink Lady, Fuji and Braeburn apples contain as much as 15% more sugar content, or four teaspoons, than the traditional apples our grandparents used to eat.
We share this not to disparage the new apple flavors as bad apples or to imply that enjoying a few of the sweeter ones will spoil the whole lunch, but just to remind you that the oral health benefits from making apples a regular part of your diet may vary depending upon which apple bunch you munch.
Another way to keep your teeth healthy and your dentist happy is regular checkups. To find affordable plans in your area, click here.
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Sources: besthealthmag.ca, WebMD.com
Photo source: wisgoon.com
Copyright 2015, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC