It’s no secret that kids love juice! Which is a good thing, right? Many parents assume that juice is good for their children because it comes from fruit. However, while these tasty beverages may have lots of vitamins, they may be doing more harm than good! Read on to find out how juice affects your child’s teeth and what you can do to protect their precious smile.
Juice Is Healthy, Isn’t It?
Just because juice comes from fruit doesn’t make it healthy. In fact, lots of beverages labeled as “juice” barely contain any fruit juice at all. Instead, most of these drinks are brimming with sugar and artificial flavoring. Mixed juice blends, juice cocktails, juice drinks, and fruit punch typically contain water, small amounts of fruit juice, and a whole lot of sweeteners, sugars, or corn syrup.
Even drinks that are 100% fruit juice are not necessarily healthy. Many popular fruits are naturally very high in sugar. For instance, a glass of apple, grape, or cranberry juice has as much sugar as a glass of soda, and orange juice and grapefruit juice are only slightly less sugary.
3 Problems with Drinking Juice
Tooth decay is the number one most common chronic childhood illness, and many dentists report that fruit juices are oftentimes the cause. There are three big factors behind why fruit juice is such a troublesome beverage for young smiles:
- Sugar content: Sugar is what fuels cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. As we just touched on above, practically all types of fruit juice are high in sugar.
- Acidity: Fruits, especially citrus fruits like oranges and pineapples, are very acidic. These acids burn through the protective shield of enamel on teeth, leaving them vulnerable to tooth decay.
- Serving method: Juice that’s served in a sippy cup or bottle or with a straw lets your child sip slowly and throughout the day, which allows sugars and acids to pool in the mouth over a prolonged period of time.
What to Drink Instead
According to experts, young children should have no more than four to six ounces of fruit juice every day. When choosing which juice to give your child, try to opt for products that are 100% juice with no added sugar or other ingredients. If you like, you can try diluting your child’s juice with water to lessen how much sugar and acid they consume at one time. Or, try making your own fruit smoothies at home with a little honey instead of sugar.
Another great beverage option for kids is milk. Dairy, almond, soy, or rice milk are all good options that are full of beneficial nutrients and low in sugar. And of course, don’t forget to encourage your child to drink plenty of tap water! Most communities have fluoridated tap water, which will help strengthen your child’s teeth and help them resist decay.
About the Practice
Dr. Tera Pollock of Rowlett Dental Kids has been helping young smiles grow to be happy, healthy, and beautiful for over 23 years. With state-of-the-art equipment, a fun and friendly office, and a dental team who truly cares, she goes above and beyond to make dental care pleasant for children and parents. No matter what stage of life your little one’s smile is at, she’ll be with you every step of the way to help you keep their oral health on track. To learn more, she can be contacted via her website or at (972) 475-0301.