In a recent article, the American Association of Pediatrics has announced that children under the age of 1 year should not be given fruit juice. They propose that juice "offers no nutritional benefits early in life" and that the process of making juice strips fruit of its natural fibers while concentrating sugars. From a dental perspective, fruit juice proposes many threats to developing teeth and can contribute to rampant decay.
One of the biggest problems with childhood juice consumption is the misconception that fruit juice is "healthy." Whether natural, organic, unfiltered or cold pressed, all commercially available juices are high in dietary sugar. In fact, most rival the sugar content of colas and other soft drinks. This, combined with juice's typically acidic content, makes it a perfect fuel for tooth decay. Liquids are excellent at bathing the teeth, while the sugar content feeds bacteria and acidity weakens enamel. This perfect storm leaves many children with a tell-tale pattern of cavities sometimes known as "Mountain Dew Mouth."
Small servings of juice once a day (particularly when served with a meal) are generally acceptable from a dental perspective. Multiple servings, putting children to sleep with bottles full of juice and sipping on juice all day (regardless of actual quantity consumed) put a child's dental health at jeopardy. Remember, tooth decay relates to the duration of time consuming a sugary beverage rather than the actual amount of sugar consumed. If you would like to know more about tooth decay, preventing cavities in baby teeth or pediatric dentistry, please give our office a call!