Contributed by Jennifer Dawson [caption id="attachment_3129" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels[/caption]

For the longest time, dried fruit has had a bad reputation for wreaking havoc with dental health. It is commonly believed that the high sugar content and sticky nature of dried foods are a leading cause of cavities. An independent review that was published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition a few years back, however, claims that the concerns relating to the impact of dried fruit on dental health are premature and ill-founded. Could this mean that we can now indulge in our favorite dehydrated snacks without having to worry about a complete collapse of our dental health?

Dried fruit may have been the victim of weak evidence

Dr. Michele Sadler, the registered nutritionist who penned the review, believes that the call for the restricted consumption of dried fruit was based on nothing but weak evidence and a lack of solid scientific facts. Dr. Sadler suggested that the common misconception regarding the detrimental effect of dried fruit on dental health arose from the blatant exaggeration of preliminary findings. In addition to this, she also stated how important it is to consider the health benefits of dried fruit before declaring it a dental health hazard.

Dried fruit consumption may even boost dental health

Not only may dried fruit not be nearly as bad for our teeth as previously believed, but new research suggests that it may even promote good dental health. Sorbitol, which can be used instead of sugar, is known to help maintain tooth mineral content, while the chewy texture associated with dehydrated fruit may boost the saliva flow in the mouth, which, in turn, neutralizes the effects of the acid caused by plaque bacteria. This is welcome news, considering that nearly half of all adults older than 30 in the USA have poor dental health. In fact, since a link between dental health and cardiac concerns has been identified, it is more important than ever to do whatever is necessary to ensure your dental health is taken care of. Apart from the plaque build-up that can occur in the arteries due to prolonged dental inflammation, a bacterial infection can also impact the heart.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution

If you're unsure whether the dehydrated delicacies you're consuming are detrimental to your dental health or not, always err on the side of caution and take a few basic precautions to ensure your teeth stay in tip-top shape. Once you're done eating, brush your teeth and floss. If you are unable to brush, at least rinse your mouth with water to remove some of the sticky residue. While it may be extremely difficult, especially when tucking into a bowl of juice golden raisins or a handful of delicious dehydrated apple slices, try to stick to the recommended portion size, both for the sake of your teeth and your overall health.

Dried fruit has been deemed an enemy of dental health for a very long time. It now seems that when consumed in healthy quantities, and if a good dental health regime is followed, dried fruit can easily be incorporated into a healthy diet - completely guilt-free.