Childhood cavities are on the down turn and the fact that many parents are finally getting educated about
fruit juice might be one of the reasons why. Tooth decay is preventable. And limiting fruit juice is an easy way to
fight kids cavities.
Fruit juice has always been a kid favorite (right up there with mac and cheese!) A decade or more ago – fruit juice was thought to be an easy, tasty way to get nutrients into little bodies of picky eaters. Many parents would even put babies to bed with a bottle of juice. Clever marketers tell us that fruit juice contributes to our “five a day” nutritional needs but as far as the body is concerned, sugar is sugar – regardless if it’s from fruit or soda. So the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) began to advise that you minimize drinking fruit juice.
Here are the current recommendations for childhood juice consumption:
- No juice for children under 1 year of age: Juice provides no nutritional benefit to babies.
- For one to three year olds: Allow for no more than 4 ounces each day. This is equivalent to the juice of 2 whole oranges – and that’s a lot of a young child!
- For children ages four to six years of age: Limit fruit juice consumption to no more than 6 ounces each day.
- For kids 7 to 18 years of age: Limit fruit juice consumption to 8 ounces daily.
It is best to encourage that kids eat the whole fruit over fruit juice. Whole fruits provide fiber…and that fiber can actually HELP fight tooth decay. But if juice is the ONLY way your little one will take their fruits, then dilute it with at least 50% water (or try an infuser. We have some here at Colorado Health Smiles and we’d be glad to give you one – just ask!) It’s also wise to only offer this diluted fruit drink at meal times.
And remember: nothing beats WATER for hydration and it keeps those pearly whites free of sugars, carbohdates and bacterial acids. Start early giving your child only water in their bottles and they won’t get the taste for those colorful, sugary drinks.