Does fruit juice cause tooth decay in kids?

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Does fruit juice cause tooth decay in kids?

No. Fortunately, real 100% fruit juice doesn’t cause tooth decay – despite growing suspicion to the contrary. Some people even believe that drinking juice is as bad for your teeth as having a soft drink. However, there is clinical evidence that strongly suggests children who drink real 100% fruit juice do not experience any tooth decay as a result.

The problem is the “fake” fruit juice products out there that are starting to give real 100% fruit juice a bad name and reputation.

The research that proves it

A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2014 collected data from 2,290 preschool children following a dental checkup in the United States, between the years 1999 and 2004. The children were aged 2 to 5, and drank between 118ml and 177ml of fruit juice in the previous 24 hours before a checkup. Environmental factors, such as their socio-economic background, were also taken into consideration.

The results of the US study showed that there was no link between children who drank 100% fruit juice and signs of tooth decay & early childhood caries (ECC). The US researchers recommended consumption should be limited to between 118ml and 177ml, and for that guideline to taught to preschool within their general health education.

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Beware of the 100% fruit juice imitators!

The “100% fruit juice”, which the US researchers referred to, means juice made directly from fruit, as opposed to a fruit juice product. The latter are basically water with added powdered fruit concentrates, high levels of sugar, preservatives and/or other ingredients. Unfortunately, these “fruit juice” products are easily mistaken for real 100% fruit juice by consumers via misleading labelling. A variety of misnomers are used with the intention of fooling consumers into thinking that they are buying 100% fruit juice – when in fact, they are just buying water with acidic additives that actually cause tooth decay & erosion in kids.

Misnomers to watch out for include “fresh”, “pure”, “natural” and “enriched with Vitamin C”, to name a few. However, some fruit juice product labels take it one step further, blatantly claiming the product contains 100% fruit juice, when in fact it is made from concentrates.

So next time you buy 100% fruit juice, don’t forget to check the ingredients list! Better still, avoid the fake juice minefield at the supermarket, and simply make the freshest 100% fruit juice for your kids – right there in your own kitchen.

References:

1. J ADA Continuing Education: Early childhood caries and intake of 100 percent fruit juice: Data from NHANES, 1999-2004., Clemencia M. Vargas, Bruce A. Dye, Catherine R. Kolasny, Dennis W. Buckman, Timothy S. McNeel, Norman Tinanoff, Teresa A. Marshall, and Steven M. Levy., JADA December 2014 145(12): 1254-1261; doi:10.14219/jada.2014.95


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