Fruit Juice is Bad for Baby Teeth
Many parents give their child fruit juice because it’s made from fruit and assumed to be healthy. But did you know that many fruit juices have added sugars that make the sugar content upwards of 23 grams in 8 ounces? In fact, 8 ounces of coke contains that same amount of sugar! That’s a lot of sugar for your child to consume, which contributes to weight gain and tooth decay. Overall, fruit juice is bad for your baby’s teeth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released a statement explaining that children under 1 year should not consume any fruit juice at all. This is the first change to their fruit juice recommendations for children since 2001. In the past, the Academy has recommended that children under 6 months do not consume juice, but after new findings they are expanding that age to up to 1 year old.
Overall, fruit juice does not provide the health benefit that whole fruit does because juice lacks the same fiber. So although kids like the sweet taste of fruit juice, it has very little nutritional value and contributes negatively to their overall health. Instead, you should give your baby only water and milk until they are 1 year old.
Dr. Sarah Aref, pediatric dentist, reacts to this recent statement:
"We are excited that these new recommendations have come out. Fruit juice is bad for baby teeth because it is the leading cause of decay in children—especially when given in a sippy cup or bottle. It's one of the most common causes of baby bottle tooth decay. Most parents don't realize how much sugar juice really has! With the amount of sugar it has and its acidity level, juice can have a huge impact on teeth. Juice can be given as a treat, and if it is, we recommend you limit the amount to no more than 6 ounces. Also consider watering the juice down. Juice should never be given to a child on a regular basis."
Children are very susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. In fact, more than 50 percent of children will be affected by tooth decay before the age of 5. By limiting your child’s sugar intake (including limiting fruit juice consumption) you can help ensure your child remains cavity-free.
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often called baby bottle tooth decay. It’s also called early childhood caries. Baby bottle tooth decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also decay. It gets its name because parents often give their child a bottle full of milk or juice when they lay them down for a nap. Then when the child falls asleep, the liquid and sugars remain their mouth and leads to rapid tooth decay.
You can help prevent baby bottle tooth decay in your child by doing the following:
- Only give your child water or milk to drink during the day. At night or before a nap, only give water.
- If your child drinks milk during the day, afterward wipe their gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth.
- When your child's first tooth comes in, brush gently with a child-size toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste.
- Schedule a visit to our pediatric dentist when you see their first tooth, or by age 1.
Watch this video for more information on how fruit juice affects teeth: