In recent years, juicing has exploded in popularity for its many purported health benefits and high concentration of natural vitamins and minerals. However, many juices, particularly those that are heavy on fruit contain a lot of natural sugars (hence their sweet taste) so can be damaging to your teeth and your waistline. Some also contain natural acids which can cause problems with your teeth enamel too.
Sugar levels in blended fruit
When you blend fruit, it is reduced to three simple components – water, natural sugar and flavourings. This essentially means that drinking fruit juices can be similar to drinking sweetened sugary drinks, as your teeth are being exposed to similar things. Sugar, whether added as part of the flavouring process or existing naturally in a drink created from fruit, can be bad for your teeth as it can cause plaque, tooth decay and gum disease.
Guidelines recommend limiting fruit juice intake for children for this very reason: “The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry even recommends restricting the amount of fruit juice that you give your small children to less than one cup per day. They have recognized the devastating effects that fruit juice can have on kids’ teeth.” Here at CK Dental we strongly advocate adhering to guidelines such as this, especially in relation to children’s teeth as if damaged is caused when the teeth are developing it can have a knock-on effect onto adult teeth and your on-going oral well-being.
There is no evidence to suggest that acidity levels of fruits increase when blended, so it should not make a difference to your teeth whether you eat fruit segments, slices or fruit smoothies. Care should be taken not to eat too many fruits with high acid content, as these can damage the delicate enamel that coats your teeth. Fruits with high natural acid content include oranges, grapefruit and tomatoes (which, yes, do technically class as a fruit, not a vegetable!).
So, what are the problems that can be caused by jumping on the juicing trend:
- Stubborn surface staining: although juices with a high veg to fruit ratio are probably kinder to our teeth, the chlorophyll in green tea and veggie juices can cause staining. Using a straw will reduce direct contact with your teeth and drink a glass of water afterwards to restore a neutral pH.
- Enamel erosion: softening of the enamel, as a result of the acids in fruit and vegetables, is often an invisible process until the damage is done and there is long-term enamel loss. Regular check-ups with your dentist or a dental hygienist can ensure your dental health.