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What is the healthiest fruit for your teeth?

When it comes to oral health, we often focus on brushing and flossing our teeth. However, the food and drinks we consume also have a big impact on the health of our teeth. Some foods can stain or damage tooth enamel, while others may help clean and strengthen teeth. So when choosing between different fruits, which one is the healthiest option for your pearly whites?

Certain fruits are better than others when it comes to protecting your teeth. The key factors that determine how tooth-friendly a fruit is include:

  • Acidity – Highly acidic fruits can erode tooth enamel.
  • Sugar content – Fruits that are high in natural sugars can feed bacteria and lead to cavities.
  • Vitamin and mineral content – Some fruits contain tooth-healthy vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus.
  • Water content – The higher the water content, the better the fruit is at washing away plaque and bacteria.
  • Crunchy texture – Firm, crunchy fruits help clean teeth and stimulate saliva flow.

With these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best and worst fruits for your pearly whites.

The Worst Fruits for Your Teeth

1. Lemons and Limes

Lemons and limes are very acidic fruits. With a pH around 2-3, they fall into the acidic range. Prolonged exposure to acidic foods and drinks can erode tooth enamel over time. Enamel is the hard, protective outer layer of the tooth. Once enamel wears away, teeth become more susceptible to cavities and other damage. It’s best to avoid sucking on lemons or limes or drinking lemon juice straight. If you do enjoy the tangy flavor of citrus, drink them diluted in water instead of straight. Rinse your mouth with plain water afterward.

2. Grapefruit

Like its citrus cousins, grapefruit has high acidity. Its pH ranks around 3, putting it firmly in the acidic category. Acidic foods lower mouth pH temporarily, allowing bacteria to thrive. Grapefruit is also fairly sour, making your mouth pucker. This action increases saliva flow, which helps neutralize acid. But the initial acidity can still take a toll on your enamel over time. Going for filtered or pulp-free grapefruit juice is a slightly better option.

3. Berries

Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries contain a good amount of natural sugar. Their sugars can promote acid production and cavity-causing bacteria. Dried berries like raisins and cranberries tend to be even higher in sugar and stickier in texture, clinging to teeth. Enjoy berries and other sugary fruits in moderation, and be diligent about brushing afterward.

Fruit pH Level
Lemon 2-3
Lime 2-2.5
Grapefruit 3
Strawberries 3.5
Raspberries 3.2-3.7
Blackberries 3.7-4.5
Blueberries 3.1-3.3

The Best Fruits for Healthy Teeth

1. Apples

Apples are high in fiber and water, which help cleanse the teeth and gums. Their crunchy texture also stimulates saliva flow. Saliva helps neutralize acids and rinses away food particles. Saliva also contains minerals like calcium, phosphate, and fluoride that rebuild tooth enamel. Apples even boost breath freshness. Just be sure to brush after eating, since apples do contain natural sugars.

2. Strawberries

Strawberries contain vitamin C, malic acid, and water, which can increase saliva flow and wash away bacteria. The seeds provide a gentle scrubbing action. Strawberries also have astringent properties that keep gums healthy. Enjoy fresh strawberries or a smoothie made with yogurt and frozen strawberries. The dairy provides protein and minerals to strengthen tooth enamel.

3. Watermelon

Watermelon is over 90 percent water, making it great for flushing out your mouth. It’s also low in sugar compared to other fruits. Plus, it contains bone-strengthening magnesium and enamel-healthy calcium. Watermelon even helps reduce inflammation of the gums. Simply snacking on fresh watermelon can promote oral health.

4. Kiwi

Kiwis are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects against gum disease and periodontal damage. Vitamin C also boosts collagen production, which keeps connective tissues around the teeth strong and firm. The fuzzy texture also provides a gentle scrubbing when you eat them. Kiwis are not excessively acidic, so enjoy them fresh or add them to a fruit salad.

5. Cucumber

Cucumber is another fruit that’s high in water content, making it ideal for washing away plaque and food debris. Cucumber slices can also serve as healthy, tooth-friendly snacks. For an extra cleansing effect, rub a cucumber slice along your teeth and gums. The vegetable contains vitamin A, magnesium, and fluoride for stronger teeth as well.

6. Papaya

Papaya contains papain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit your gums. Vitamin C in papayas also reduces gum inflammation and periodontal disease. Avoid green, unripe papayas, which are higher in acidity. But ripe papayas can be a tasty, good-for-your-gums treat.

7. Pineapple

Pineapple provides a double whammy for better oral health: bromelain and vitamin C. Bromelain helps break down plaque and food particles, while vitamin C boosts collagen to strengthen connective gum tissue. Pineapple also contains astringent properties to tighten gums. Just be sure to rinse after eating it, since the fruit does contain sugars.

8. Oranges

Oranges are packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient for healthy gums and connective tissue. They also contain calcium for strengthening bones and teeth. While acidic, oranges are considered a more tooth-friendly fruit. Still, it’s best to rinse your mouth after eating them, especially if you brush right away. Enjoy some fresh orange slices or diluted orange juice.

Fruit Tooth Benefits
Apples Clean teeth, stimulates saliva, freshens breath
Strawberries Increases saliva, gently scrubs, contains vitamin C
Watermelon High water content, magnesium, calcium
Kiwis Vitamin C for collagen and gum health
Cucumber Hydrates mouth, vitamin A, magnesium, fluoride
Papaya Anti-inflammatory papain, vitamin C
Pineapple Bromelain breaks down plaque, vitamin C
Oranges Vitamin C for gums, calcium for teeth

Tips for Choosing the Healthiest Fruits

When shopping for tooth-friendly fruits, keep these tips in mind:

  • Opt for fresh, whole fruits over dried varieties.
  • Rinse off fruits before eating to remove dirt and residue.
  • Enjoy fruits as snacks versus as sweeteners or juices.
  • Mix fruits with protein and dairy, like yogurt or cheese, to balance acidity.
  • Drink water and rinse your mouth after eating acidic fruits.
  • Wait 30 minutes before brushing after consuming acidic fruits.
  • Brush twice daily and floss at least once a day.
  • Schedule regular dental cleanings every 6 months.

Fruits labeled as organic, unripe, or unsweetened tend to be higher in nutrition and lower in sugar. Reading ingredient lists can give you a sense of how much added sugar a packaged fruit product contains.


When it comes to your dental health, some fruits are better than others. Choose fresh, whole fruits that are crunchy, high in water, and not too acidic or sugary. Apples, strawberries, watermelon, kiwi, cucumber, and pineapple are excellent options.

Be mindful of your overall diet by limiting acidic and sugary foods and practicing good dental hygiene daily. Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth after eating acidic fruits. Visit your dentist regularly too.

With the right fruits and proper care, you can keep your teeth strong and healthy for life. Just remember moderation is key, even with natural sugar sources. Pay attention to how different foods make your teeth feel and aim for a balanced diet. Your teeth will thank you.