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Raisins - Health Food or Junk Food?

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Updated February 20, 2008

Most people think of raisins as a healthy snack for children. In fact, you have likely heard of them referred to as "nature's candy" or "the world's healthiest food."

If you ask a Pediatric Dentist though, you will likely get a different story. Since they are sticky and have a lot of sugar in them, raisins are also frequently high on the list as a risk factor for children getting cavities.

So while some people might have handed out small boxes of raisins on Halloween as a healthy alternative to candy, for example, other parents might have lumped them in with all of the other Halloween candy that they wanted their kids to avoid.

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Background

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, by the time they reach kindergarten, over 40 percent of children already have one or more cavities. Of course eating raisins isn't the only or main cause of these cavities and bigger risk factors likely include:
  • not brushing well
  • drinking too much juice and milk
  • eating a lot of junk food
  • not visiting a dentist regularly
  • getting a bottle or cup at night
Still, since cavities are such as big problem, you do want to make sure that you do everything that you can to protect your children from tooth decay.

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