April 7, 2021
Is your refrigerator stocked full of various juice flavors? Does your child constantly ask for the delectable taste of strawberry, apple, or mixed berry? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many parents find themselves in the same predicament. While you may buy natural fruit beverages thinking they are the “safer” option, the truth is that they are not. A pediatric dentist explains what happens to your child’s teeth when they begin consuming juice of any kind and why water is always a better option.
The Harmful Effects of Juice on Your Child’s Teeth
Children are already prone to developing cavities because of their novice oral hygiene skills. Add in the consumption of different fruit juices, and the risk increases dramatically. It is a common misconception that these beverages are “healthy” and “safe” because they contain fruit. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all. Many of the most common juice options found on grocery store shelves contain high amounts of sugar, which is a culprit of tooth decay in young children.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children under the age of 1 should not receive fruit juice to drink. As a general rule of thumb, children of all ages should limit their consumption because the contents of these beverages do not contain the same fiber as natural fruit. Also, when compared to a single glass of soda, they often contain just as much sugar.
When choosing to give your little one juice to quench their thirst, you are increasing their risk for tooth decay and cavities, especially if they do not drink water afterward or brush their teeth. The sugars found in these beverages can adhere to their tooth enamel, causing bacteria already found in the mouth to create harmful acids. Over time, it will begin to eat away at the top layer of their teeth, causing cavities to form.
The Benefits of Water to Keep Their Smile Healthy
Although your child may not get as excited for water, you can feel more comfortable as a parent knowing their teeth are safe from sugary substances. Not only does this hydrating beverage help to flush out toxins within the body, giving them more energy, but it also works to stimulate salivary glands that are essential for ridding the mouth of food particles and bad bacteria.
You might also try giving your little one whole milk or plain sparkling water. If your child insists on having some sort of fruit concoction, have them help you whip up a smoothie filled with their favorites (i.e., strawberries, blueberries, lemon, a small bit of honey, and water).
Your child’s primary teeth are important, so make sure you’re protecting them by choosing the right foods and beverages that will safeguard their smile as they grow and develop.
About the Author
Dr. Maggie Davis earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at the University of Florida. As the chief pediatric resident, she graduated fourth in her class. As a board-certified pediatric dentist and diplomate in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, she continues to pursue continuing education to expand her skills. She and Dr. Lorielle Alter lead a team of professional hygienists, assistants, and administrative staff, all of whom are available to provide parents with helpful tips and information about healthy food and drink options for young, growing teeth. If you want to minimize your child’s risk of tooth decay and cavities, call our office at (727) 786-7551 or visit our website.
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