August 23, 2019
When you have a kid, you want what’s best for them, including what’s best for their little teeth. As it turns out, consuming beverages with high sugar content can be a lot more harmful than you may have realized. In May of 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines on fruit juice consumption for the first time since 2001. Let’s examine these guidelines and what they say about sugary juice’s effect on your child’s teeth.
What Are the New Fruit Juice Guidelines?
The new guidelines suggest that juice intake should be limited, at most, to:
- 4 ounces a day for toddlers age 1-3
- 6 ounces daily for children age 4-6
- 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit servings per day for children age 7-18
They also advise that toddlers before the age of one not be given juice through a sippy cup. The constant exposure to sugars provides ample material for bacteria in the mouth to feast on and create cavities. Infants can meet their caloric needs through milk or formula up until the age of one. After that, if you’re going to feed them juice, do so in one sitting. Allowing them to sip sugar throughout the day increases their risk of tooth decay.
What Health Risks Do Sugary Drinks Carry?
The amount of sugar in fruit juices can add up easily and cause many side effects, including:
- Weight gain and obesity. Can lead to other issues over time like type 2 diabetes and bone problems.
- Heart disease. The constant supply of fat and sugar can damage blood vessels, leading to heart problems.
- Tooth decay. Sugar attracts bacteria to your mouth which destroys tooth enamel and results in cavities.
- Fatty liver. Too much fat in the liver means it can’t perform many of its functions.
How Can You Help Your Child Avoid Sugary Drinks?
Try out these tips to reduce your kid’s sugar intake:
- Start young. If your child is under the age of one, only give them water and milk or formula.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure your child gets their recommended 6 to 8 cups of water daily.
- Add flavors. Put sugar-free flavoring in your little one’s water to make them more likely to drink it.
- Read labels. Be aware of the sugar content in your drinks.
- Avoid sports drinks. You might think they do a great job of refueling after a game, but many of them contain too much sugar to be considered mouth healthy.
Taking care of your child’s dental health is massively important, and limiting their intake of sugary drinks can make it much easier. Ask your dentist for more advice on keeping their little mouths healthy and happy.
About the Author
Dr. Raj Gaur is a graduate of Rutgers Dental School, and has accrued more than 350 hours of continuing education courses. He loves solving health problems that can affect not only the mouth, but the entire body, such as consuming too much sugar. To learn more about how to eat a mouth healthy diet, contact Dr. Gaur here or by calling (631) 673-8040.
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