We all know that our diet impacts our dental health. We all know that a diet high in sugar will increase our risk of tooth decay. And we all know the biggest offenders when it comes to high-sugar foods. Yup, candy and soda are a one-way ticket to Cavityville. But a less obvious offender is fruit juice. Fruit is good, right? Fruit juice must be good, too, right?
We know that fruit and vegetables are synonymous with a healthy treat. That’s because they are! Fruit and vegetables contain a lot of the vitamins and minerals your child needs to grow up big and strong (and adults need to stay healthy). It can be hard for some parents to get their children super interested in eating the right amount of fruit and veggies, even if the parents themselves model perfect nutritional behavior. Having those fun juice pouches or fruit smoothies may seem like the perfect solution to encouraging a child eating healthier.
But be careful. While it’s true that real fruit juices do contain healthy ingredients, there is a lot more to the process then by simply changing the presentation. Natural fruit juices are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but they lack things that make fruit healthy to begin with. Fruit in its natural state contains digestion-friendly fiber, which is removed when the fruit is turned into juice. On top of that, even natural fruit juices have a higher sugar content than the fruit has in its pure form -even the “all natural” and “organic” types.
Balance is everything. Drinking fruit juice every once in a while won’t rot their teeth in a day, but experts argue that too much contributes to the rising problem of childhood diabetes and obesity as well as an increase in tooth decay – especially when children fail to use a straw to limit direct contact with teeth. Doctors recommend that instead that we should encourage children to drink water with fruit on the side. Alternatively, making your own natural juices may be a fun way for you to make your child a sweet treat while you get to know exactly what goes into their drink.