Fruit juices are a delicious alternative to soda and 100 percent real fruit contains tons of nutrients, antioxidants and a 4-ounce serving is equal to one piece of fruit as defined by the government's new Nutrition Place. Unfortunately, squeezed fruit is filled with concentrated levels of sugar and in the cases of citrus juices, tooth-eroding acids.
Drinking fruit juice will deposit trace amounts of sugar onto teeth. While a parent may not be able to detect the food source, oral bacteria can and will quickly get to work feasting on the sweet stuff. As they do, they bond together to form communities called dental plaque and produce an acid byproduct as part of their digestion process. When left unchecked the plaque and the acid will linger about, erode tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay and cavities.
Citrus juices may compound the problem. While packed with Vitamin C and other good stuff, citrus juices naturally contain high levels of citric acid. That acid is so strong it can wash away tooth enamel. Studies have shown that drinking a glass of OJ can reduce enamel hardness by 84 percent and can leave dental pulp and dentin vulnerable to tooth erosion (Eastman Institute for Oral Health, part of the University of Rochester Medical Center).
Fruit Leather and Dried Fruit
Aside from its' natural state, fruit comes in many different forms and leather or dried are just two of the options. Parents who opt to give their children this sweet snack are providing them with a low calorie treat that packs a nutritional punch. However, fruit is this state is sticky and can adhere to teeth. When left unchecked, the stray food particles will provide a massive feast for oral bacteria.
It is important to note, that the food and beverages listed are better selections than processed drinks and sodas. Parents who are interested in providing their kids with these foods should:
- Talk to your dentist and let them know that you provide your children with bottled water. The dental service provider can choose to provide a fluoride treatment or recommend incorporating a fluoride toothpaste into your child's oral hygiene regime.
- Regardless of the type of water consumed, parents are wise to provide their kids with a glassful after consuming fruit juices, leathers or dried fruit. Water will help neutralize harmful acids and can wash away trace elements of sugars and food particles.
- Bring your child to see a dentist regularly so they can implement preventative dentistry to minimize the odds of problems developing.
- Make sure your children's oral health practices are appropriate for their age. A kids' dentist or family dentist can alert parents to exactly what oral care behaviors should be implemented at any age.
Individuals looking to get on the dental care bandwagon for either themselves or their charges can find a dentist at 1-800-DENTIST. The process is as simple as picking up the phone and calling now!