Kids love juice for its great taste, and parents love that their kids drink juice because it’s good for them! After all, fruits are brimming with important vitamins and nutrients that your child needs to be healthy. While this is true, letting your little one drink too much juice could do them a lot more harm than good. Here’s how fruit juice affects your child’s teeth and what you can do to protect their precious smile.
Isn’t Fruit Juice Healthy?
Just because juice comes from a fruit doesn’t make it healthy. In fact, there may be a lot less nutritional value in this tasty beverage than you think! Beverages labeled as mixed juice blends, juice cocktails, juice drinks, or fruit punch usually only contain very small amounts of juice. Instead, these drinks are brimming with added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or high-fructose corn syrup.
Even beverages that are 100% fruit juice may contain a lot more sugar than you realize. Most popular fruits are full of natural sugars. As such, a glass of apple, grape, or cranberry juice has just as much sugar as a glass of soda!
3 Problems with Drinking Juice
Did you know that cavities are the number one most common chronic childhood illness? While there are several factors that put children at a higher risk of tooth decay than adults, many dentists agree that juice consumption plays a key role. There are three factors that make juice such a troublesome drink for growing smiles:
- Sugar content: As you may have guessed, the more sugar your child consumes via juice, the more likely they are to develop cavities.
- Acidic nature: Fruit, especially of the citrus variety, are very acidic. These acids quickly and easily burn through tooth enamel, leaving them weakened, sensitive, and vulnerable to decay.
- Serving method: The more frequently your child drinks juice throughout the day, the more these sugars pool around their teeth and gums, promoting tooth decay and gum disease.
What to Drink Instead
While it may seem somewhat overwhelming at first when you realize how much sugar is in beverages marketed towards children like juice, there’s no need to panic! There are still plenty of delicious drinks your little one will love, and even some ways to make drinking juice safer for their smile, such as:
- Make sure children under six are drinking no more than 6 ounces of juice a day, and kids over 6 no more than 12 ounces a day (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics).
- Dilute juice with water to lessen its impact.
- Make fruit smoothies at home with a little honey instead of sugar.
- Drink more milk, especially low-sugar options like almond, soy, rice, 2%, or nonfat milk.
- Drink more tap water, which is both healthier and usually contains the beneficial mineral fluoride to help keep your child’s teeth strong!
About the Practice
Dr. Lily of Shiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry loves to help the young smiles of Garland and the surrounding communities grow to be healthy and strong. As a board-certified pediatric dentist, she has advanced training in meeting the unique oral healthcare needs of children and offers every type of service your little one’s smile might need. What’s more, as a parent herself, she will be more than happy to answer all your questions and concerns about how to care for your child’s smile at home. To learn more, she can be contacted via her website or at (469) 925-0861.