Fruit juice gained its popularity with pediatricians as a source of vitamin C and an extra serving of water for children, as well as a constipation aid. As children’s pallets expanded into more solid food, juice was viewed as a healthy addition to their diet. Pediatricians recommended juice as a way to consume a greater serving of fruits and vegetables, as well as more vitamins and calcium. Although there are some good benefits to drinking fruit juice, it does have some adverse effects when it comes to your child’s dental health. At Children’s Dentistry of the Palm Beaches, our pediatric dentists are here to break down the facts and help your child achieve optimal oral health for life!
Nutritional Benefits of Fruit Juice
In some cases, fruit juices are fortified with vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin D, as well as calcium. Some juices are already naturally high in potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. These juices that are high in vitamin C have been shown to decrease the risk of cancer and heart disease, long-term speaking. Additionally, when juices that contain ascorbic acid are paired with a meal, it can help increase your child’s iron absorption. This can be especially beneficial in children with an iron deficiency or a low iron diet.
Choosing 100% juice drinks and forgoing powdered options will provide more nutritional benefits and help you avoid artificial sugars that are damaging to your child’s teeth and their health. The most nutritious options recommended are:
- Orange juice:
Orange juice is inexpensive, and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, magnesium, and other minerals.
- Pomegranate juice:
Pomegranate juice is a good source of potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants.
- Unsweetened pink grapefruit juice:
Pink grapefruit juice without any added sugar is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and minerals.
For kids 1 year of age and up, choosing an unsweetened, 100% fruit or vegetable juice option in moderation can provide helpful benefits for their baby teeth, immune system, and overall health.
How Harmful is Fruit Juice to Teeth?
Although fruit juices are natural, the sugar content can have adverse effects on your child’s teeth and gums. When you eat a piece of fruit, even though you get the juices, you are also taking in the pulp and its structure which are full of fiber and protein along with many vitamins. Fruit juices are simply just the juice which is highly concentrated with sugar.
When the bacteria in your mouth comes in contact with sugar, it creates an acid that can break down your tooth enamel. In addition to the bacteria and sugar creating acid, fruit juice is naturally acidic. When drinking the juice, it washes the acid over your teeth each time you sip. Our dentists advise choosing whole pieces of fruit for your child and choose the best options in moderation when possible.
How Many Ounces of Fruit Juice Should My Child Consume?
Depending on your child’s age, small amounts of juice are healthy and tasty. Pediatric dentists recommend parents avoid giving their child juice in their first year of life. Here is a quick guide for the appropriate amount of juice for infants, toddlers, and children, recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Less than 1 year of age: 0 ounces daily
- 1 year to 3 years of age: 4 ounces daily
- 4 years to 6 years of age: 6 ounces daily
- 7 years to 18 years of age: 8 ounces daily
Contact Children’s Dentistry of the Palm Beaches to Learn More!
If you have questions about your child’s current intake of fruit juice, our experts in infant dentistry will discuss them with you during your child’s regular dental exam. Our dentists at Children’s Dentistry of the Palm Beaches are here to provide excellent dental care when your family needs it the most.