The fact that children love and often crave sugar has been well-documented and is something that every parent can definitely attest to. Moreover, recent studies have begun to suggest that this is something infants are born with, and that young children don’t actually have a built-in limit when it comes to how sugary something can be. Whereas most adults tend to find anything that’s more sugary than a can of soda to be too sweet, infants and young children don’t seem to have any such limit. It seems that most children seem to have a near constant craving for anything sugary and sweet, which many parents try to satisfy by giving their young ones fruit juice.
How Does Fruit Juice Affect a Child’s Smile?
The vast majority of parents already understand about the dangers of sugar and the potential damage it can do to their child’s developing smile. As a result, most parents are already take steps to limit the amount of soda, candy and other sweets that their child consumes. Unfortunately, one area where many parents fall short is when it comes to protecting their child’s teeth from the potentially harmful effects of fruit juice.
The truth is that all varieties of fruit juice contain quite high amounts of sugar. In fact, one serving of fruit juice typically contains as much or even more sugar than the same amount of soda, and this can even true of all-natural juices. Fruit juice on its own already contains a lot of natural sugar, but further compounding this problem is the fact that many juices marketed towards children have even more sugar added.
Sugar is hands-down the number one cause of tooth decay, which is why it is essential that you limit the amount of sugary drinks and foods your child consumes. What this means is also cutting down on the amount of fruit juice your child drinks. Instead, you are far better off to try to get your child to eat some fresh fruit to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Unfortunately, sugar isn’t even the only culprit in fruit juice that could damage your child’s teeth. Most fruit juices are also highly acidic, and this mixture of acid and sugar can make things quite worse. The sugar alone works to feed bacteria that cause cavities and can lead to decay, all while the acid is slowly eating away and weakening tooth enamel. Taking these factors into account, it should quickly become obvious that fruit juice really shouldn’t be considered a healthier alternative to soda—at least where your kid’s teeth are concerned. Still, this isn’t to say that you should forbid your kids from ever drinking fruit juice. Instead, all you need to do is follow these simple steps to lessen the potential damage that juice can do.
Protect Your Child’s Teeth from the Harmful Effects of Fruit Juice with These Simple Steps
According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, children between the ages of one and six should be limited to no more than one, four-to-six ounce serving of juice per day. In addition, it is recommended that you follow these additional steps.
Limit Juice Intake to One Sitting
It is far better for your child’s teeth if they drink the entire serving of juice in one sitting instead of sipping on the juice throughout the day. In this way, you can limit the amount of time that the sugar in the juice comes into contact with the teeth rather ran having the sugar continually contact their teeth throughout the day.
Serve Juice with a Meal
The mouth produces more saliva while eating a meal, and this added saliva can minimize the damage from the juice by helping to wash away the sugar and acid.
Dilute Juice with Water
Diluting the juice with water obviously lessens the amount of sugar in the serving and thus helps to better protect your child’s teeth.
Follow Up Juice with a Drink of Water
Just as the added saliva during mealtimes can help wash away sugar and acid from the juice, simply having your child take a sip or two of water after they drink their juice can also go a long way towards minimizing the potential damage.
Give Your Child a Straw
Although this may sound strange, drinking juice with a straw is far better than drinking directly from a cup. The straw draws the liquid further into the mouth and thus limits the amount of direct contact between the juice and the teeth.
Your child’s teeth are hugely important, and this is true not only for now, but also their future. Therefore, it is essential that you pay attention to their oral health and hygiene and do everything you can to protect their precious teeth from damage, which includes paying attention to their fruit juice intake.