We’ve all heard the adage, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ but what about keeping the dentist away? While we love to see our patients for regular checkups at Dobson Dental, our main priority is educating patients to ensure optimum dental health.The truth is, the answer is complicated! Read on to discover what apples can do for your smile…
The initial proverb, ‘eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread,’ originated from Wales, in the 1860s. The modern version we know today was coined in 1913. However, the meaning has been maintained; eat plenty of fruit (and vegetables) to stay in good health. When this theory was tested by the University of Michigan School of Nursing in a 2001-2010 survey, the ensuing Jama Internal Medicine study found people who regularly ate apples were less likely to use prescription medications. Fortunately for your teeth – the good news doesn’t end there!
An A+ for Health
Discover the benefits of incorporating apples into your diet:
- An apple contains around 1.7g of fibre. Fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system.
- Apples are about 85% water, which keeps you hydrated and fuller for longer.
- On average, an apple is only 268 kilojoules; which means you can eat larger portions, without exceeding your recommended daily intake.
- A single apple is equal to one serve of fruit; which makes meeting the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommendation for kids to eat two serves of fruit each day, easier to achieve.
- Being Low GI, apples gradually provide your body with energy over an extended period of time.
The Right Serve
While apples are clearly a great addition to your diet, the way you choose to consume this delectable fruit is critical for your wellbeing! Drinking apple juice or consuming vitamin supplements instead, will never offer your body the same benefits as eating a whole apple. This is because much of the nutrients are found within the skin, and fibre is eliminated when the apple is juiced.
A Toothy Treat
Most importantly to our Dobson Dental team, apples are also great for maintaining dental health.
- The mild acids in apples help kill bacteria in the mouth, which is the source of bad breath.
- Apples are packed full of nutrients including Vitamin C which boosts your immunity and ensures healthy gums.
- The tough skin and texture of apples can help scrub away plaque and other debris from your teeth.
- Apples contain boron, a nutrient which promotes strong teeth and bones.
What About Natural Sugars & Acids?
If you think your favourite apple tastes sweet, you’re right! Yes, apples do contain natural sugars, but that doesn’t mean this fruit is necessarily bad for your pearly whites. These natural sugars are a far better alternative to processed sugar treats. In fact, the high fibre content of apples stimulates saliva production. Saliva and the water contained within an apple help to wash away traces of sugar on your teeth, keeping your enamel intact.
The acid contained within apples can help reduce plaque, however it can also break down tooth enamel over time. For this reason, at Dobson Dental we recommend drinking water after tucking into an apple, to wash away excess acid.
Instead of eating apples as a snack, try eating them as part of your main meals such as slices tossed in a salad. Wait half an hour before brushing your teeth after gorging on your favourite fruit, to make sure the acid has had time to dissipate, so you don’t risk brushing away the softened enamel. Most importantly, while apples can give your teeth and gums a good scrub, they should never be considered a substitute for following your usual dental hygiene routine.
Some apple varieties have been cross-bred to produce a sweeter taste, which has caused some concern in the international community, particularly in Britain, as additional sugar could lead to erosion of tooth enamel. However, there are plenty of local Australian varieties to choose from. Plus, you can prevent tooth decay by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly.
Several apple varieties have been grown in Australia since the mid 1800s, starting from the germination of the famous green Granny Smith in New South Wales. Apples are an affordable choice for Australians, costing approximately 60 cents, per 100g. In fact, they are our nation’s second favourite fruit, following bananas! Apples have endured as a popular fruit on an international scale for decades because they are easy to grow and keep well. They are juicy, crisp, colourful and boast amazing flavours.
Popular Aussie varieties include Royal Gala, Golden or Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Sundowner and Fuji, just to name a few. So what are you waiting for? Give into temptation and take a toothy bite out of an apple!