Most people know sugar causes dental cavities. Often we see adults or children when diagnosed with multiple holes in their teeth tell us “But I eat really healthy. I don’t have lollies/ice cream/chocolates etc.” When we discuss their diet in more details, we have found there are a few food groups that commonly escape their radar of “sugary foods”.
One of these is dried fruits. They are considered “healthy”, often featuring in “no sugar” added recipes, a box of sultanas or dried fruit leathers could be easily found in any child’s lunch box as a “healthy” snack. In fact, dried fruits are concentrated in sugar, and with a sticky nature, they can stay around the teeth for hours after consumption. For kids with braces, they are particularly difficult to clean.
The next culprit is fruit juices. Again it has a very healthy image. Patients and parent of children sometimes say they squeeze their own juice at home, and it’s without any preservative or chemicals. That may be true. But consider this. It takes 3-4 oranges to produce a glass of orange juice which takes a few minutes to consume. How many people can eat 3-4 oranges in one sitting? The amount of sugar in drinking juice is much more than consumed in eating whole fruits.
Another common misconception is sugar-free soft drinks won’t cause dental decay. We have had many patients who were very surprised to be told coke zero is the cause of their tooth cavities. These drinks while sugar-free are acidic, and they will eat through the enamel on teeth.
While all of these foods are mentioned can be consumed on an occasional basis, all of them are highly cariogenic, meaning they can cause tooth cavities easily. For your dental health, it’s best to avoid having them in your diet.