February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a national observance that promotes the benefits of good oral hygiene to children. Looking for the facts on juice and maintaining healthy teeth? Diane Welland, registered dietitian and mother of three, has the information you are looking for!
Q: Will drinking fruit juice negatively impact my children’s teeth?
A: Claims that fruit juice causes caries in young children are not supported by science – let’s look at what the research says! Researchers at the University of Maryland’s School of Dentistry in Baltimore evaluated data on nearly 2,300 US preschool children and found no association between intake of 100 percent fruit juice and early childhood caries (ECC). And, that’s not the only study with these findings, many other researchers have found similar results.
Q: My child drinks juice frequently. Is he or she more likely to develop dental caries?
A: Proper hygiene is key to preventing cavities – if you are concerned about your child’s dental health, it’s important to make sure that they are brushing! Drinking juice on a regular basis won’t increase development of cavities or caries. According to a study from the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry at the University of Iowa, children who consumed juice more frequently (2 or more times per day) had less dental caries than those who did not. In fact, data demonstrated that those 3 year old children who consumed 100% juice one more time per day (3 times per day) had approximately 60% lower odds of developing dental caries, compared to those who consumed 100% juice less frequently per day. This suggests that drinking 100% juice may even protect your child’s teeth and lower the incidence of dental caries.
Q: Should my child drink juice?
A: Fruit juice can be an important part of a child’s diets and not just for their dental health! Most importantly, research shows that kids who drink juice have been found to have better diets and nutrient intakes than those who don’t. According to the International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition, children ages 2-18 years who consumed 100% juice had higher intakes of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Kids who drink juice also had lower intakes of total fat, saturated fat, sodium and added sugar and consumed significantly more whole fruit than those who don’t!
If you are interested in learning more about children’s dental health, The American Dental Association has some tips at mouthhealthy.org. To find out more nutritional information and studies about juice & oral health check out the Latest Scientific Research or sign up for our monthly newsletter.
About Diane Welland MS, RD
Diane Welland is a registered dietitian and Manager of Nutrition Communications of Juice Products Association. In this position, she manages nutrition policy and regulatory issues and works directly with the nutrition scientists on a variety of issues. Diane works closely to interpret new research as it pertains to the juice industry and frequently presents on nutrition issues.
In her spare time Diane likes to cook, garden, and travel to foodie destinations.