New research suggests 100 per cent fruit juice does not cause tooth decay in children.
Data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)1 in the US has discovered that children who drink four to six ounces of 100 per cent fruit juice a day – between 118-177ml – do not suffer from tooth decay caused by the drink.
Researchers studied data from 2,290 children aged between two and five following a dental examination. Environmental factors, including socio-economic background – were also taken into account.
The research defines 100 per cent fruit juice as a beverage made from fruit, and 100 per cent fruit juice differs from ‘juice drinks,’ which are diluted with water and may contain added sugars or other ingredients.
Fruit juices are becoming increasingly popular and the fruit content can make them seem like a good idea. However, many people remain unaware that pre-bought juice drinks often described as made from concentrate may contain very high levels of sugar and acid and so can do a lot of damage to teeth.
Recent statistics show one in eight three year olds and one in four five year olds in the UK suffer from visible tooth decay, and Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, hopes the research helps parents identify the best drinks to help their child’s oral health development.
Dr Carter said: “Parents often provide their child with juice drinks thinking they are doing them good but, in reality, they are often packed with sugar. A quick glance in supermarkets reveals why some parents may not know the difference, so hopefully this research will point them in the right direction.
“The research clearly highlights 100 per cent fruit juices are a safe option. Parents should look for those with no added sugar. These differ from juice drinks, which have the potential to be more harmful.
“It is not a stretch of the imagination to suggest juice drinks are one of the reasons why three year-olds and five year-olds have signs of visible decay, so it is important we continue to educate parents on the benefits of 100 per cent fruit juices and why they are good for the body and the mouth.
“If some parents are confused, another option they have is to make fruit juice at home. Juicing is certainly better than many pre-bought juice drinks and gives parents more control over how much fruit juice their child drinks.
“If parents are still concerned, they can give their child a straw. This reduces the contact the juice has with teeth. Water and milk have always been considered the best drinks you can give them, and this research shows fruit juices can be added to that list too. It is also best to keep drinking fruit juices until mealtimes.”
1.J ADA Continuing Education: Early childhood caries and intake of 100 percent fruit juice: Data from NHANES, 1999-2004., Clemencia M. Vargas, Bruce A. Dye, Catherine R. Kolasny, Dennis W. Buckman, Timothy S. McNeel, Norman Tinanoff, Teresa A. Marshall, and Steven M. Levy., JADA December 2014 145(12): 1254-1261; doi:10.14219/jada.2014.95