When compared to sodas and sweet tea, fruit juice is a glowing choice for your child – right? Not so fast. Despite its healthy name, fruit juices can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. Unfortunately, many parents and grandparents don’t understand the harmful consequences of fruit juices, and they are still pouring glasses and filling sippy cups with this sugar-laden beverage.
How Fruit Juice Can Do More Harm than Good
Are you guilty of letting fruit juice be a substitute for your child’s serving of fruit? You are not alone. While there are certainly nutritional benefits to fruit juices, they tend to cause more harm than good when it comes to your teeth.
Even all-natural fruit juice contains high amounts of sugar. In fact, some varieties deliver more sugar per gulp than a soda! You probably know by now that sugar is the primary culprit to cavities. However, that’s not all. Fruit juice is not only sugary, but it is also very acidic. This is a devastating recipe for your child’s pearly whites. Acids are known to attack and weaken tooth enamel, and sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria. This combination creates an open invitation for decay.
Ways to Protect Your Child’s Teeth Without Omitting Fruit Juice
The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children one to six years old should have no more than 4 to 6 ounces of fruit juice per day. When you do pour that glass of fruit juice, follow these tips to reduce the risk for dental harm:
- Encourage your child to drink it all at once instead of sipping throughout the day
- Dilute it with water (your child will probably never notice)
- Make it a mealtime drink so that there is more saliva production to neutralize the acids
- Use a straw
- Have your child drink water afterwards to rinse away the sugars and acids
If you are trying to get your child to consume more fruits, it is better to have them eat them rather than drink them. While the actual fruit still contains sugar, they will also be getting the fiber it takes to slow down the absorption of the sugars in their bloodstream. Therefore, by skipping the apple juice and going straight for the apple, you won’t be bathing your child’s teeth in a sugar-acid bath and you’ll be supporting a healthier body too!
At Georgia Orthodontics & Children’s Dentistry, we consider it a privilege to protect your child’s growing smile. Stay tuned for more tips on healthy dental care at home!
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