Is snacking on an apple the best thing for your dental health?

Is snacking on an apple the best thing for your dental health?

Snacking on unhealthy food in between meals may play havoc on your waistline, but you may be no better eating fruit either.

And apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it could also be keeping your dentist busy, according to a recent survey of oral hygiene experts.

The surprise warning about snacking on sugary fruit comes from a poll of 458 dentists, hygienists and dental professionals. Commissioned by Dentyl Active, the survey explored the foods and habits that are eroding Britain's dental health.

Four out of five warned that snacking contributes to decay, plaque build-up and enamel erosion, and a third said that apples can cause major damage to teeth and gums - alongside the usual suspects of chocolate and biscuits.

The findings echo research by Professor David Bartlett at the King's Dental Institute which found eating fruit may be as damaging to dental health than carbonated drinks. Bizarrely in the past, eating hard fruit after meals was advised in the belief that this would have 'a regenerative influence upon the teeth and gums'.

Just under half of the experts questioned warned that fruit juice is also a key cause of tooth and gum problems and more than a third pinpointed savoury snacks such as crisps as problematic too.

Emeritus Professor of Dental Sciences at Newcastle University and leading periodontologist Robin Seymour points out: "We may be keeping our teeth longer, but there are still gaping holes in many people's dental health regimes.

"A 2009 national survey of adult dental health found that 23% of adults brush their teeth only once a day and, despite the popularity of more efficient powered toothbrushes, many of those who brushed twice a day still had visible deposits of plaque, which cause dental decay and gum disease."

A new report about to be published by Professor Seymour, advises that additional mechanical methods, such as flossing, will remove more plaque, be he highlights: "While flossing may have some benefits, the issue of flossing - which is not popular with people - appears to be one of compliance and preference."

This consumer resistance has driven research into alternative methods of plaque removal, and the development of effective, innovative, alcohol-free mouthwashes such as the Dentyl Active range.

Professor Seymour notes: "Antiseptic mouthwashes now play an important role in plaque control. The novel two-phase action of Dentyl Active is scientifically tested to reduce plaque by up to 25% after brushing, while also removing food debris from the mouth."   

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