Most kids really like to drink juice. Depending on the brand, it can be liquid candy for toddlers. I can't blame them. I like a good juice on the rocks, too. But, as a dentist, I steer my patients away from fruit juice. Let's break this down from a dental perspective as to why the fountain of fruit juice should not be ever-flowing.
It's great fun to make fresh squeezed orange juice with your children. Is this juice bad for their teeth? It's nutritious and delicious, but if the kids sip on it all day long, they are more likely to develop cavities. How about a juice pouch a few times a day? What about juice diluted with water in a sippy cup on the go? Where do we, as thoughtful parents who don't want our children to develop cavities, draw the line?
It comes down to the frequency of exposure, not so much the actual juice itself. Again, we are talking about the dental perspective here. Frequency is defined as the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. In this case, lets define 'exposure' as fruit juice washing over delicate baby teeth. OK, now it's time to put it all together with 2 examples.
If there is fruit juice washing over delicate baby teeth once a day for 5-10 minutes during lunch, you do not need to sweat it. Enjoy the juice in limited moderation. Try to give sips of water afterward, as well as brush the teeth if possible.
If there is fruit juice washing over delicate baby teeth once an hour all day long, it's time for a big change. Even if the juice is diluted with water, there is still some juice washing over baby teeth frequently.
It's the frequency that is the high risk factor for developing tooth decay. Please don't give your child frequent access to juice. The frequent sips of fruit juice (acid plus sugar) will make cavity-causing bacteria very happy. If giving juice, drink within a 5-10 minute time frame and be done. The method shown in the photo uses a simple bowl. The toddler chugs the juice for 20 seconds. Now that's limited exposure, toddler style!