As a parent, you most likely understand the importance of regular visits to the dentist for your toddler's oral health. Unfortunately, certain common habits can wreak havoc on your toddler's teeth, even with good oral hygiene. While surprising to learn, fruit juice is not a healthy beverage for your child. Although a healthy amount of juice consumption is acceptable, over consumption can lead to obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, and dental problems. Children between the ages of 1 and 6 years of age should not consume more than 6 ounces of 100 percent pasteurized fruit juice per day. If more is consumed, your child's dental health will be affected. Using this guide, you will understand the dental dangers your child will face when drinking an increased amount of fruit juice.
Whether you give your toddler juice drinks, fruity-flavored soda, or 100 percent fruit juice, over consumption can lead to many dental issues. Here are a few dental dangers your toddler will face when drinking a large amount of juice products:
- Enamel Erosion – Juice contains sugar and acidic properties that can erode the enamel on your child's teeth.
- Staining – Juice contains dark pigments and acids that will discolor your toddler's teeth. Over consumption may lead to yellow or brown stains on the teeth.
- Cavities and Decay - Over time, the erosion allows bacteria, acids, and sugars to build up on and in the teeth, increasing your child's risk of cavities, infections, and tooth decay. Without proper treatment, your child may experience toothaches and possibly lose one or more teeth from the cavities and decay.
- Gum Disease – The tooth decay can spread to your toddler's gums, causing inflammation and light bleeding of the gum tissue. Inflamed, swollen, and bleeding gums are signs of gum disease.
If your child is experiencing one or more of the above dental dangers, reduce their intake of juice immediately. This will not repair the damage that has already been done to their teeth, but it can decrease their risk of future problems.
If you allow your toddler to periodically drink a healthy amount of juice, do not allow them to drink from a bottle or sippy cup. Consider pouring the juice into a cup or glass with a straw. Sucking the juice up through a straw decreases the amount of contact your child's teeth have with the sugars and acids.
Allowing your child to drink a glass of water after each cup of juice is also smart. The water will rinse away any leftover acids left behind from the juice.
Certain juices contain higher amounts of acids, so avoid giving your toddler the following juices:
Pear, grape, peach, plum, and apricot juices contain less acidic properties, but make sure they do not have added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Consult your child's dentist to correct damage to your child's teeth. In most cases, the dentist will conduct a thorough cleaning and exam to determine if your toddler has any cavities. If there are cavities present, the dentist will apply a filling agent to prevent further tooth decay.
A fluoride treatment is beneficial for your toddler's damaged teeth. Fluoride strengthens the enamel of your child's teeth, preventing acids from eroding the enamel and decreasing the risk of future cavities. The fluoride treatment will not repair cavities, but it is effective for remineralizing eroded enamel and reversing the early stages of tooth decay.
Fruit juice may seem like a healthy beverage for your child, but large amounts can wreak havoc on their oral health. For more information about how to protect your child from damage and repair any that has already been done, contact experienced dentists like Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates.