Can apples cause tooth decay?
Researchers concluded that, “ … participants who reported eating apples were 3.7 times more likely to have damage to the dentine layer of tooth below the enamel while participants who consume carbonated drinks such as colas had no additional risk of tooth decay.” The authors of the study conclude that the reason for the increase of tooth decay is the high acidity levels of the apples, which eroded the dental enamel and caused decay.
So, is there truth behind the theory that apples can actually cause tooth decay? Do sodas cause tooth decay or are they safe? The researchers from this study are only partially right. Eating a large amount of fruit, including apples, can lead to tooth decay but not because of high acid levels eating at the tooth enamel. The truth is that fruit can actually be a good part of a healthy diet; however, fruit is a natural source of sugar. In the past, apples were not like the like the ones we have today. Through cultivation and hybridization, apples now have very high sugar content. Foods with high sugar content, even apples, can lead to blood sugar fluctuations. When a disruption is caused in blood sugar levels of the body, the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the body are also altered. This can lead to tooth decay, because the body begins pulling calcium from the teeth and bones. If the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the body are stable, through a nutrient-rich diet, then tooth decay can be prevented.
So, will eating an apple lead to tooth decay? Eating an apple every now and then is safe, but fruit should not be a main part of your diet. If you do consume fruit, pair it with a fat, such as cream or cheese. You should always avoid highly sweet fruits, such as peaches or pineapples. If you have severe tooth decay, you should cut all sweet foods, including fruit, out of your diet.
What about soft drinks? The study in the Journal of Dentistry suggests that people who consume soft drinks do not have an increased risk of tooth decay, but is this accurate? This is largely false, and soft drinks actually do pose a risk to your teeth and your overall health. Soft drinks are very high in sugar and also contain high fructose corn syrup. Anything high in sugar will rob your body of important minerals and vitamins, and lead to blood sugar fluctuations. High fructose corn syrup is especially harmful, and has even been linked to certain health conditions, such as diabetes and obesity. In regards to your dental health, fructose can cause glandular imbalances that contribute to severe tooth decay.
Boyer, T. "Apples Can Cause Four Times More Damage to Teeth Than Sodas." emaxhealth. N.p., 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 8 Nov 2011. http://www.emaxhealth.com/8782/apples-can-cause-four-times-more-damage-teeth-sodas
Photo Credit: Scott Bauer from Wikimedia Commons (public domain)