Some people may believe that raisins can cause cavities, but a 2005 study suggests otherwise. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry reported that raisins are actually a healthy snack for the teeth. While some sticky dried fruits may contribute to oral health problems, raisins contain several natural compounds and antioxidants that curb the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Here are some reasons you may wish to incorporate raisins in your diet and how they protect teeth from decay:
- Raisins are rich in phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are antioxidants naturally derived from plants. Oleanolic acid is one of five phytochemicals found in raisins. This compound helps impede the onset of cavities and gum disease. Oleanolic acid also prevents the development of cavity-causing bacteria and its ability to adhere to the surface of the teeth.
- Eating raisins helps stimulate saliva production. In addition to keeping the mouth moist, saliva helps neutralize enamel-damaging acid and kills bacteria that produce and spread the acid. Lack of saliva production leads to a dry mouth, which increases the risk of tooth decay.
- Raisins mainly contain fructose and glucose — not sucrose. Many dental experts consider sucrose to be the main contributor to sugar-related oral diseases. The phytochemicals present in raisins effectively prevent bacteria from sticking to the tooth surface and forming plaque.
Before you enjoy snacking on a box of raisins, however, keep in mind your essential dental healthcare practices:
- Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to keep teeth strong and gums healthy.
- Floss once daily to clean between teeth and remove food particles.
- Drink a glass of water to wash away bacteria and acid in your mouth.
- Gargle mouthwash to reduce acidity, clean hard-to-reach areas, and remineralize the teeth. Mouthwash also helps restore the mouth’s chemical balance.
- A healthy, balanced diet — along with good dental hygiene — builds strong teeth and prevents decay and gum disease.
- Visit a dentist every six months. Even if you are extremely diligent with brushing and flossing, you still need to see a professional for a thorough checkup and cleaning. Your dentist can detect potential oral problems and provide effective treatment solutions.
Call Cosmo Dental Centre at (519) 659-2767 for an appointment with a family dental clinic in London, Ontario. You can also send an email to reach us. During your visit, our dedicated team can share more information about foods may assist improve oral health.