Girl drinking juice

Fruit Juices, Tooth Decay & Your Child’s Teeth

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Most parents would think that fruit juices are healthier “alternatives” to water. But the truth is, while most of them do contain high levels of Vitamin C, they are also pumped with high volumes of sugar.

Is it OK to give my child fruit juice?

The combination of fruit juices’ acidity and high sugar content definitely has an impact on teeth, says Rhea Haugseth, DDS, Spokesperson and Former President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

If your child is taking sips of juice frequently, and through sippy cups, throughout the day, his or her teeth are constantly being bathed in acid and sugar.

This does not mean that parents should stop giving their children. Here are recommendations from the AAPD:

  1. Do not give infants juice from bottles, sippy cups or juice boxes.
  2. Intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces for children 1 to 6 years old. About 4 ounces (118 milliliters) of 100% fruit juice is equal to one serving of fruit.
  3. Limit the consumption of juice to meal times only. Allowing kids to consume juice throughout the day encourages bacteria to develop.
  4. Replace juice drinks with water or milk.
  5. Teach children to rinse their mouth with water after meals to remove acidic plaque.
  6. Show children how to brush their teeth after meals and let them know what clean teeth feel like.

To ensure that your child isn't drinking too much juice, The AAPD and the American Heart Association both recommend limiting children's intake of fruit juice to:

Birth to 6 months No fruit juice, unless it's used to relieve constipation
6 months to 6 years 4 to 6 ounces (118 to 177 milliliters) a day
7 years and older 8 to 12 ounces (237 to 355 milliliters) a day

Billy's teeth Despite brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, five year old Billy, from Northern Moor, Greater Manchester, now has just ten teeth left – four at the top, six at the bottom.

The culprit: fruit juice

Surgeons at Manchester Dental Hospital originally wanted to take out 15 of his rotten teeth, but this would mean nine long months on a waiting list plus a bonus overnight hospital stay.