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Are Dried Fruits Bad for My Child’s Teeth?

July 22nd, 2020

[caption id="attachment_1064" align="alignleft" width="640"] Are Dried Fruits Bad for my Child's Teeth[/caption]

Dried fruits are a convenient snack for busy families. Unless you’re drying the fruit yourself (go you!), you don’t have to wash or slice anything; just hand those kiddos a box of raisins and be out the door. Plus – you can feel good about adding to your kiddo’s servings of fruits for the day.

But…what about all that sticky, sugary goodness? Isn’t that a no-no when it comes to dental health? The quick answer is: it’s complicated.

What is Dried Fruit?

Dried fruit is simply fruit that has had its water removed to some extent, leaving a shriveled, smaller version of its original form. Compared to fresh fruit, it's more shelf-stable.

Some forms of dried fruit have sugar added to improve taste or texture. And some dried fruit is encrusted with sugar crystals or chocolate. What we recommend offering to your kiddos is the plain stuff – no sugar added.

How Might Dried Fruits Affect Teeth?

Dried fruits contain sugar, and have a sticky texture. Anything that’s sweet and sticks to your teeth for a long time has the potential to contribute to tooth decay. The longer that sugar sits on teeth, the happier your mouth bacteria are as they chomp away and produce the acid that can attack your enamel.

When we eat dried fruits, it’s easy to go overboard on the sugar. Typically when we eat dried fruits, we eat a lot more than the equivalent amount of fresh fruit. A handful of dried apricots looks a lot like the same quantity in our eyes as a single fresh one.

But don’t cross dried fruit off your shopping list just yet…

There are Benefits, Though

Dried fruits are still fruit, after all. That means they contain fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients that are part of a healthy diet. Research tells us that some of these nutrients, such as polyphenols, actually help prevent the accumulation of plaque on teeth.

Other research theorizes that individual traits (such as the composition of bacteria in our mouths) have more to do with how a raisin will affect our teeth than the amount of sugar it contains.

You’d be surprised to learn how many other factors there are in relation to dried fruit’s effect on teeth. All in all, it appears there is insufficient evidence to conclude that dried fruit is, in fact, bad for our teeth.

So…hooray! Because there is some evidence to point toward dried fruit being beneficial for oral health in some ways, as well as containing important nutrients for our bodies, we say it’s a great option for hungry little tummies!

Again, you’re better off sticking with dried fruits that don’t have added sugars (though of course some yummy chocolate-covered fruits can be an occasional treat!). And offer some water to help wash anything sticky off teeth and down the hatch.

And, as always, maintain regular dental health visits with your child’s dentist to make sure their teeth are in good shape!

All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. Check out our monthly blog posts! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

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Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. For more than a decade, served as assistant professor for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD). He is currently an instructor at LLUSD.

Caries Risk Assessment - What's the big deal?

May 4th, 2017

Caries Risk Assessment - What's the big deal?What is the Caries Risk Assessment Tool?

The Caries Risk Assessment Tool is a research-based tool used to identify the risk factors that cause dental decay. It is also used to provide recommendations to reduce the risk of future cavities.  It has been well documented that dental decay affects children throughout their childhood and into their early adulthood.  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that there has been a significant increase in dental decay in primary (baby) teeth.  This study further revealed that in U.S. children ages 2-5, one in four had dental decay.  Moreover, one half of children ages 12-15 had dental decay.

Why is this needed?

Instead of just filling cavities, this new method helps identify the cavity-forming risk factors and then provides guidelines to prevent future dental cavities.  The old method of just treating dental decay did not address the root factors that cause dental decay.  Several years ago, leading dental experts, ranging from educators, clinicians, and policy makers, converged to create the Caries Risk Assessment tool. Using the Caries Risk Assessment is a new paradigm shift that helps health care providers and educators provide specific recommendations to decrease the risk of getting dental caries.

What are the categories?

There are 3 risk categories:  High, Moderate, and Low

For each category there are recommendations based on the child’s age.

Some common recommendations include: nutrition changes, use of fluoride supplements, sealants, and more frequent cleaning and checkups.

Still need more information?

For additional information you may contact these organizations:

I've got it, what should I expect at my child's next dental visit?

At your child's next dental checkup visit, you will be asked a few questions that will help determine your child's risk for dental decay.  These responses will be used along with the information Dr. Allen Job gather's during your child's examination to determine your child's risk for dental decay.  Dr. Job and his team will be review that information with you at the end of the appointment.

How often will the Caries Risk Assessment be performed?

The Caries Risk Assessment will be performed each time at you're child's checkup appointment.  This is an ongoing process.   Our goal at All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is to prevent dental decay from starting in your child.  This involves providing you with easy ways to prevent dental decay. Our secondary goal is to convert Moderate and High Risk patients into Low Risk patients.

Contact our office, All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen Job.  Dr. Job and his team will be able to provide you with more information for your child at his or her visit.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.