The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) has recently joined the groups calling for fruit juice to be removed from the list of recommended five-a-day portions. According to the official list, a 150ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice counts towards your five a day, but dentists – including Bristol dental surgeon Cornelius Krause of CK Dental – say that even unsweetened juices can be harmful to oral health.
At a time when many children as young as three are showing visible signs of tooth decay, the BDHF believes that keeping fruit juice on the five-a-day list sends out the wrong message to parents and children.
What’s wrong with drinking juice?
Many parents who we see here at our Bristol clinic say they give their children fruit juices to drink as an easy way to increase their fruit consumption, but the high concentration of sugars and acids in juices means that they can cause damage to the teeth, particularly when sipped repeatedly throughout the day.
What should children drink instead?
According to the British Dental Health Foundation, water and milk are the best drinks you can give to children. If they really insist on drinking fruit juice, try to keep it to mealtimes, when the mouth is producing more saliva to help wash the sugars away from the teeth.
How can we limit the damage caused by drinking fruit juice?
Any dentist will tell you how important it is to ensure that children brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. This is particularly important when the child drinks a lot of fruit juice, or eats a high sugar diet.
It is worth remembering, however, that brushing teeth too soon after consuming sugary food or drink can actually do more harm than good, as sugars soften the enamel on the teeth – try to leave a good half hour before tooth brushing.