Fruit juices seem like a good idea. Marketed as a source of vitamins, good for hydration and energy, easy to digest and generally loved by children…it’s easy to understand why fruit juices are often incorporated into children’s diets.
However, babies and toddlers do not need juice.(1) Excess consumption can interfere with feeding or consumption of solids.(1,2) Excess consumption may also contribute to metabolic problems, obesity and obesity-related diseases risks.(1-7). In terms of nutritional values, such as vitamins and fibre, whole fruits are much better.(1,6,7)
Dentally, regular consumption of fruit juices may cause problems that lead to teeth sensitivity and /or toothaches. All juices, freshly squeezed or 100% fruit concentrate or other, are sweet, sour and sticky.
These 3 “S” in combination render fruit juices as high risks for oral health:
- Sweet – Sugars in juice, even if natural fruit sugars, contribute to dental decay risks;
Sour – Acids in juice, even if natural fruit acids, contribute to dental erosion risks;
Sticky – Juice sticks to teeth as it washes over them and delays being washed away by saliva (oral clearance), prolonging the negative effects of sugars and acids. (4, 7-8)
Introduction to and frequent consumption of fruit juices during infancy contribute to increased lifetime dental decay risks.(7) Decay (dentists call this “dental caries”) experience are increased in young children who are offered sugary drinks once a week or more and brushing less than twice a day.(4,7,8)
Taking into account general health and oral health, when it comes to fruit juices, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)’s feeding guideline (1) recommends:
- “Exclusively breastfed infants do not require additional fluids up to 6 months of age.”
- “Avoid leaving an infant unattended with a bottle containing liquids (i.e. no bottle propping).”
- “Avoid juices and sugar-sweetened drinks and foods and drinks with added sugars.”
- “Fruit juice is not necessary or recommended for infants. Consumption may interfere with their intake of breastmilk or infant formula.”
SO, ON A DAILY BASIS, “TAP INTO WATER” INSTEAD.
Smiles and Hugs,