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,
- National Health and Medical Research Council. Infant feeding guidelines: a summary. Canberra: NHMRC. Published online February 2013. Last update September 2015. Accessed online: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n56.
- Park S, Pan L, Sherry B, Li R. The association of sugar-sweetened beverage intake during infancy with sugar-sweetened beverage intake at 6 years of age. Pediatrics 2014; 134(Suppl.1): S56-62, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-0646J.
- De Ruyter JC, Olthof MR, Seidell JC, Katan MB. A trial of sugar-free or sugar-sweetened beverages and body weight in children. N Engl J Med 2012; 387(15): 1397-406. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1203034.
- Armfield JM, Spencer AJ, Roberts-Thomson KF, Plastow K. Water fluoridation and the association of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and dental caries in Australian children. Am J Public Health 2013; 103(3): 494-500. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300889. Epub 2013 Jan 17.
- Shefferly A, Scharf RJ, BeBoer MD. Longitudinal evaluation of 100% fruit juice consumption on BMI status in 2-5-year-old children. Pediatr Obes 2016; 11(3): 221-227.doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12048.
- Bray GA, Popkin BM. Calorie-sweetened beverages and fructose: what have we learned 10 years later. Pediatr Obes 2013; 8(4): 242-248. doi; 10.111/j.2047-6310.2013.00171.x.
- Park S, Lin M, Onufrak S, Li R. Association of sugar-sweetened beverage intake during infancy with dental caries in 6-year-olds. Clin Nutr Res 2015; 4(1): 9-17. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2015.4.1.9.
- Wigen TI, Wang NJ. Does early establishment of favourable oral health behavior influence caries experience at age 5 years? Acta Odontol Scand 2015; 73(3): 182-187. doi: 10.3109/00016357.2014.976264.