sugar in fruit bad

Is Sugar in Fruit Bad for Teeth?

We have all heard that sugar is bad for us in many ways, but there is often ambiguity surrounding the question if sugar in fruit is bad. According to Harvard Medical School, consuming too much sugar can lead to heart disease, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and tooth decay. The harmful bacteria in your mouth feed off the sugar and carbohydrates you eat. The bacteria combines with acid and can turn into bacterial infections. In turn, these bacterial infections in your mouth can destroy the enamel of your tooth, which results in cavities and even tooth loss. 

A study published in the Advances in Nutrition Journal found that tooth decay affects approximately 80 percent of the US population. Since much of this tooth decay is caused by sugar, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidelines that recommend the intake of free sugars should be less than five percent of total calorie intake  to promote good dental health. 

The Global Burden of Diseases 2019 found that untreated tooth decay in the permanent teeth is the most common health condition. A diet high in added sugar, along with inadequate exposure to fluoride, and a lack of plaque removal, can cause cavities, tooth loss, and infection. Given this research, you may have asked yourself if the sugar in fruit is bad for you. To answer this question, this article will outline classifications of sugars, how different types of sugars affect dental health, and foods that can promote good oral health.

What are the different types of sugar?

Dietary sugars include both monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, fructose) and disaccharides (sucrose, maltose, lactose.) When you are examining a food label, the total sugars include both natural and added sugars. Added sugar typically means that the manufacturer added substances such as high fructose corn syrup, molasses, or honey to the product. Natural sugars include sugars physically located within the cellular structure of the grain, fruit, vegetable, or milk product. While all types of sugars can be harmful to your teeth, some are more harmful than others. 

Is sugar in fruit bad?

The sugar that occurs naturally in fruit is much better for you than added sugars because fruits are also packed with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients can boost your immunity, protect you against diseases, and can promote healthy hair, nails, and skin. Some fruits, such as apples, can also offer added benefits to your dental health because biting into the crisp peel can help clean plaque from your teeth and freshen your breath. 

Is the sugar in some fruit better than others?

Some fruits contain higher amounts of natural sugars and acids than others, thereby making some fruits slightly better for your oral health. You should stick with whole fruits rather than fruit juice because fruit juice contains a concentrated amount of sugar without dietary fiber and phytochemicals. Avoid fruits containing a high amount of acid, such as lemons, limes, pineapples, grapefruit, and grapes. Eating fruits, such as berries, apples, and pears can actually help curb sugar cravings while also providing health benefits, so they provide a double whammy of health benefits. 

Overall, you can have fruit in your diet without worrying about negatively affecting your dental health. The most important aspect to preventing tooth decay and cavities is proper oral hygiene, such as brushing, flossing, and swishing mouthwash with fluoride. If you have further questions about how you can improve your oral health, reach out to us at Milnor Orthodontics and we’ll be happy to help.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 230-3187 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.