New research suggests that 100 % fruit juice does not cause tooth decay in children. These findings were recently published from data in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)1 in the US. Before you think you are off the hook as parents, you must know that all fruit juice is not created equal. Finding 100% fruit juice at your local grocery store may be more difficult than you think. Based on these recent findings as well as what we already know about the risk of tooth decay in children, your best plan to protect your child’s teeth should include:
- Know Your Labels. Many parents are confused as to which fruit juices are 100% juice, and therefore safe for kids to drink, versus those that are made from concentrate. Many store-bought fruit juices are made from concentrate, which means they contain a significantly higher amount of sugar and acid. These are two things that we do no want hanging around on our teeth.
- Use a Juicer at Home. If you want to be sure your child is getting the good stuff, make your own. Parents who juice can eliminate the worry of any added sugars that could cause tooth decay.
- Offer a Straw. For the times that you just can’t avoid a concentrated juice option, offer your child a straw. Sipping through a straw helps to avoid the contact between teeth and juice, which reduces the likelihood that acids and sugars will remain on your child’s teeth and produce harmful, cavity-causing bacteria.
The good news is that your child can still have fruit juice without a significant risk for tooth decay. However, parents must be educated and aware on the type of fruit juice that is safe. Drinking 100% fruit juice instead of its concentrated counterparts will result in many other health advantages as well. High amounts of sugar can lead to childhood obesity and diabetes. When in doubt, choose water for secure confidence in your child’s beverage of choice!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,