The average American eats 27 pounds of bananas per year. If you like to give your children some fruit for their school lunch or as a snack throughout the day, bananas are a very popular choice.
But are they bad for your children’s teeth? You may have heard that bananas can contribute to tooth decay, and are not good for your child’s oral health. Is that true? Find out from the team at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry now!
Bananas Are High In Natural Sugars, Which Can Contribute To Tooth Decay
First, let’s get this out of the way. Yes, bananas have a relatively high level of sugar, including both glucose and fructose. An average-sized banana has about 14 grams of sugar, which is about the same amount as a tablespoon of sugar that you’d find in your pantry.
Sugar and starches, which are both found in bananas, can contribute tooth decay. The bacteria in our mouths love these simple carbohydrates, and they eat them, reproduce, and excrete acid that can contribute to tooth decay.
But that’s only part of the puzzle. Acid is another concern, and bananas pass this test with flying colors.
Bananas Are Very Low In Acidity Compared To Other Fruits
Acidic foods are a major contributor to tooth decay, and bananas are much less acidic than many other fruits. Their pH is about 4.5-5.2.
For comparison’s sake, oranges have a pH of about 3.7-4.2, and apples have a pH of about 3.3–4.0, making them much more acidic than bananas.
Because bananas are less acidic than these fruits, they’re better for the teeth, at least when it comes to acidity.
Bananas Have Valuable Nutrients Like Potassium, Calcium, And Vitamin D
Let's not forget that bananas are packed with nutrients that kids need, like potassium, magnesium, and manganese, which are essential as your child grows.
Bananas also contain vitamin D and calcium, which can help strengthen their teeth. These valuable nutrients mean that bananas are very good for your child’s overall health, as well as their oral health.
As Long As Your Child Maintains Good Oral Hygiene, You Don’t Have To Worry!
If your child is brushing twice a day and maintaining a balanced diet, you don’t need to worry about tooth decay from bananas, or from any other fruit, for that matter! Fruit is a great source of natural sugars, and also contains valuable fiber, nutrients, and vitamins.
Even though fruits like bananas are high in sugar, they’re still much less of a concern than other snacks and drinks. For example, a 12-ounce can of Coke, for instance, has a whopping 39 grams of sugar, nearly 3x as much as a banana! A Snicker’s bar has 20 grams of sugar.
Because of this, feeding your child fruit instead of other sugary snacks and avoiding sugar-packed drinks like soda and juice will have a much larger effect if you’re trying to avoid the formation of cavities.
Want To Avoid Cavities? Make Sure To Get Frequent Oral Exams!
Along with proper at-home oral care, you need to see a children’s dentist like Dr. Julie Hantson for six-month teeth cleanings and oral exams to keep your child’s teeth healthy. If your little one is overdue for a consultation, just give us a call at (781) 205-1124, or contact us online to get started at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry.