At our pediatric dentist office, we care about the health of your child's teeth. Poor dental hygiene is not the only thing threatening the healthy development of baby teeth and adult teeth in this vulnerable stage of life. Most parents might know that there are foods and drinks that should be avoided if you want to keep your child's oral health in good shape.
Unfortunately, fruit juice is one of those drinks to avoid. This sugary beverage is often viewed as healthy due to its natural properties, but juice can wreak havoc on baby teeth. Read on to discover four reasons why your kids should limit their juice intake.
Baby teeth are more susceptible to cavities
Baby teeth are much more vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay than adult teeth. A child's teeth and jaw go through many changes from birth to about age 12. Teeth are constantly shifting, being lost and being replaced by adult teeth. If a tooth prematurely falls out due to tooth decay, the development of the jaw is affected, and subsequently, it can stunt the adult tooth.
Sugar causes tooth decay. The bacteria in the mouth feed off carbohydrates, namely starches and sugar. The bacteria digest these particles and produce acid, which then eats away at enamel and causes decay. Eliminating as much sugar as possible can help to keep teeth strong.
No nutritional value
Many parents think that juice is a healthy alternative to soft drinks or the acidic lemonade. The truth is, juice can be just as sugary and damaging as soda and other classically unhealthy beverages. Some juices might boast that there is no sugar added, but fruit juice on its own is still full of natural sugars in great quantities. In whole fruit, the fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
Pediatric dentists recommend fruit, but not fruit juice. Fruits are nutritious mostly due to the fibers within them. Juice contains no fiber or little fiber, and so juicing a fruit eliminates most of the nutritional value, leaving a cup filled with concentrated fructose. A child's teeth need a lot of healthy nutritious foods to develop correctly. Without proper nutrition, especially calcium, the teeth become weak. This sets up a child for a life filled with dental issues.
Children drink less water
More juice means less water intake. Water is essential in maintaining good oral health. It supports the salivary system which cleanses the mouth and naturally prevents cavities. Juice is not as hydrating as water and is destructive to teeth. On the other hand, water is the best beverage your child can drink. It will keep your child hydrated and their baby teeth healthier.
Health conditions related to excessive sugar intake
That sugar rush your child gets from drinking a cup of juice is medically known as a blood sugar spike. When that sugar spike wears off, it becomes low again very quickly. Blood sugar is one factor that regulates hunger. When blood sugar is too low or too high, energy levels reflect this. When blood sugar is low, the brain produces a hormone that makes people crave sugary foods and drinks to replace the lost sugar. Drinking sugary juice can be the catalyst for an endless loop of craving sugar. In this way, sugar is closely linked to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Help your child live a healthy life
To give your child the best chance of excellent lifelong oral health, consider limiting their juice intake to fewer than 8 ounces per day. For younger children, no more than 4 ounces per day should be consumed. Talk to your pediatric dentist to determine the best foods and drinks for your child.
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