If we know anything about kids, it’s that they love sweet things! Juice happens to be one of the most common foods on the list for most kids. While juice can provide benefits, a lot of people are concerned about juice and the impact it can have on their children’s teeth. Drinking too much fruit juice can end up causing problems for your children if they aren’t practicing the right oral health habits. Here are some things you need to know about fruit juice and the impact it has on your children’s teeth.
Sugar Decreases the Teeth’s Resistance to Plaque
Sugar does erode teeth and it can increase the risk of cavities. Some fruit juices are naturally high in sugar, which does cause problems with cavities and gum disease. If you have children that love fruit juice, encourage them to rinse their mouth with water after drinking the juice as it will decrease the likelihood of cavities and gum disease. Avoid allowing fruit juices before bedtime as it can increase tooth decay tremendously. During sleep the saliva production naturally decreases, making it harder to wash away sugar that is stuck on the surface of the teeth.
Fruit Juice Contains Acid
Most fruit juices contain a high amount of acid, which causes the enamel to erode. The acid reacts with the bacteria in the mouth, which causes soft spots in the protective enamel surrounding the teeth. Fruit juice will increase the bacterial attacks on the enamel for up to 20 minutes after drinking. Rinsing the mouth with water right after drinking the juice as it can reduce the amount of bacteria that does start to attack the enamel.
How to Prevent Enamel Erosion
If your kids love to drink juice, always make sure you are teaching them healthy habits to prevent tooth decay. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of decay:
1. Drink all the juice at once. Instead of letting your kids sip on a juice box for an hour, try to get them to drink the whole thing in one sitting. After they finish the juice, have them rinse their mouth with water to reduce problems with excess sugar in the mouth.
2. Use a straw. A great way to reduce the problems with sugar attacking the enamel and gums is to use a straw. Drinking through a straw reduces the amount of sugar that comes in contact with the child’s teeth.
3. Offer water. The best thing you can do is train your children from a young age to drink water. If you have a child that must drink juice, consider watering down the juice so there isn’t as much sugar they are drinking with the juice.
Teach Healthy Brushing Habits
Children learn by example. It is important to show them how to brush their teeth, and for them to see you brushing your teeth often. If your children have a hard time brushing their teeth, consider using a battery-powered toothbrush as it does assist in cleaning all areas of the teeth that can be hard to reach with a traditional toothbrush.
Sugar Free Juices
Fortunately, there are several companies offering sugar-free fruit juices or whole juices. Opt for brands that do not have additives in their juices as they help to limit the amount of sugar and acids that can cause erosion of the enamel.
At Redwood Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to helping our patients have healthy teeth. Contact our Taylorsville dental office to schedule an examination for your child, or contact us to discuss additional questions or concerns about your child’s oral health.