Pediatric Dentistry: Impact of Fruit Juice on Children’s Teeth
Pediatric dentistry is working to debunk one of the greatest health myths: fruit juice is good for kids.
Juice is harmful to teeth in general, but it’s especially bad news for kids’ developing enamel.
What’s the Big Deal with Juice?
Many fruit juices contain excessive amounts of sugar, just like soda. Almost all fruit juices are acidic, to some extent.
Constant exposure to sweet acidic drinks will cause tooth enamel to gradually dissolve, making it a compound problem for little kids who have a hard time with oral hygiene.
The Effects of Acid Erosion
As acid wears away at a tooth’s outer layer, it becomes more sensitive, stained, and vulnerable to decay.
Some kids develop so much enamel erosion and decay that their teeth are worn down to discolored “stubs.” This doesn’t look good and it can cause the child a lot of pain. Decay rapidly spreads throughout baby teeth and can even move to affect the underlying adult teeth.
Your body does have a natural way of fortifying tooth enamel with minerals in the saliva. But if someone’s mouth is in constant exposure to acids, then this remineralization process doesn’t happen.
Safe Juice Consumption for Your Kids
Is there any safe way to enjoy fruit juice?
Yes, as long as you mind the following guidelines for drinking juice:
- Choose 100% fresh or reconstituted juice with no sugar added
- Make sure the juice is pasteurized; fortified is a plus
- No juice for babies under a year old
- Toddlers aged 1-3 limit to 4 oz. of juice per day
- Children aged 3-6 limit to 6 oz. of juice per day
- Everyone else limit intake to 1 cup of juice per day
- Offer juice in a cup along with a meal, as opposed to by itself
- Avoid juice in a pouch, box, or bottle which cause sipping and longer acid exposure
- Avoid grapefruit juice if your child is on any medication
How to Protect Against Enamel Wear
It’s impossible to avoid literally every source of acid in our diets. But the good news is that you can take steps to strengthen teeth against acid exposure.
Aim to consume things like fruit juice along with a meal, not between them. After enjoying the drink, swish with a little water to dilute the acid. Then, wait at least a half hour before brushing your teeth. This allows the acid to neutralize and your enamel to remineralize naturally.
When possible, complement acidic drinks like fruit juice with acid-neutralizing foods, like cheddar cheese slices.
Remove dental plaque with a good routine of brushing and flossing. Look for dental products that contain tooth remineralizing ingredients. Even kids need the benefits of fluoride to strengthen their enamel.
Don’t underestimate the value of regular pediatric dental visits for keeping tooth enamel healthy.
If your family is dealing with a juice crisis, then you need to see a Ventura dentist great with kids. Dr. David Satnick, DMD is your best local resource for tips on keeping you and your family’s smiles healthy.
Are you in need of a cosmetic dentist to whiten your teeth? Schedule an appointment with Ventura dentist Dr. David Satnick, DDS, or for more information call 805.639.3050 now!