If you have not heard the about the ugly side of fruit juice, Dentistry for Children knows this article will be an eye-opener.  For generations, fruit juice has been considered a staple in the diet of babies.  In bottles, in sippy cups and later, in straw-stabbed boxes, thousands of moms have given it to their babies.

A little brain-washed by advertising, mothers believed it was good for their smallest babies.  Now we know the truth.  The American Academy of Pediatrics published new policies in May of last year.  Read on to discover what babies and children should drink, how much, and why.

Fruit Juice Is Not For Babies Anymore!

The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated the ugly side of fruit juice. They have condemned giving fruit juice to babies under 1 year old.

You child's age indicates how many ounces of fruit juice are good for her or him.

Limit Fruit Juice to Keep Her Smile Healthy. 

According to their statement, “Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit to children under age 1 and should not be included in their diet.”  Thus, they have condemned the practice giving juice to children under a year old.

This declaration is more than a statement.  The American Academy of Pediatrics, first published the strong new policy in May 2016.  Dentistry for Children wants the word to get around!  Articles like these continue to spread the news for mothers everywhere, long after media reports are history. Check out our previous article on this topic, but read all the updated details of the policy below!

Dark Secret Number 1:  Fruit Juice And Childhood Obesity

Studies show that free access to fruit juice plays a role in poor eating habits, leading to childhood obesity.  Drinking it helps to establish a sugar habit. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that all the regular nutrition a baby really needs until 12 months old is mother’s milk or infant formula.

“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy.  However, it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories,” said Melvin B. Heyman, MD, FAAP, co-author of the statement.  He added, “Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1.”

Likewise, the CDC (Center for Disease Control states, “The percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s.  Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity.”

If you casually watch children on a school playground, you might think the obesity epidemic is even worse than that statistic.  At Dentistry for Children, we can’t help but wonder how much of the sugar habit began with a steady and regular liquid intake of sugar from free all-day access to fruit juice, or worse, sugary drinks.

Dark Secret Number 2:  Fruit Juice and an Increased Chance of Caries

Not Fruit Juice, but water is this family's healthy choice.

This is How We Roll: Healthy Water for the Whole Thirsty Family.

Fruit Juice simply increases the chances of caries (tooth decay.)  Dentistry for Children especially stresses the fact that putting babies to sleep for a nap or a night with a baby bottle of juice increases chances for caries.  Likewise, allowing a baby to carry around such a bottle helps pave the way to the development of caries.

Both of these practices expose tiny teeth and gums to an almost constant sugar flow.  And we all know bacteria thrives on sugar and makes cavities. Plus, you have the possibility that later, the child develops an unhealthy habit:  drinking sugary stuff all the time!

In fact, after age 1, until age 6, the American Association of Pediatrics permits a maximum of only 4 ounces of juice per day.  Moreover, experts agree such juice should be served with a meal, not as a snack.

Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states, “Caries and its sequelae are among the most prevalent health problems facing American infants, children, and adolescents.  Frequent ingestion of sugars and other carbohydrates (eg, fruit juices, acidic beverages) and prolonged contact of these substances with teeth are particular risk factors in the development of caries.”

Our Mission:  Protecting Children from Cavities–and Fat!

Children’s health experts across the board agree with dietary restrictions on fruit juice for children.  They also agree it has no place in a baby’s diet until he or she is 12 months old.  Such experts include the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, AAPD, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  They also condemn giving fruit juice to babies under 1 year old.

More Juicy Facts

As you read this article, you probably could not guess how much information is available about the fruit juice policies in healthcare.  Everyone at Dentistry for Children genuinely cares about your children’s teeth, and proudly posts the following little hints and tips:

  1.  Limit fruit juice to 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3.  For children age 4-6, restrict it to 4-6 ounces, and for children ages, 7-18, restrict it to 8 ounces per day.  What should everyone usually drink?  Water!

    Fruit juices in unlimited quantity are harmful to developing teeth like these.

    Healthy summer choices, like limits on fruit juice, make healthy mouths, and habits–and happy kids!

  2. Caution! Children under many types of medication should never drink grapefruit juice.  At the chemical level, grapefruit juice can impede the effectiveness of medication.
  3. Here’s a jaw-dropping point:  Never use fruit juice to treat dehydration or diarrhea.  In fact, it has caused gas, bloating and diarrhea.
  4. Encourage kids to eat whole fruits.  Help the health experts educate the public about the benefits of whole fruit, not juice.
  5. Do not put juice in baby bottles or “sippy cups.”  Sipping on a “juicy” box, a bottle of sugary liquid or a sippy cup all day, exposes teeth to sugar and promotes tooth decay.
  6. Plus, Dentistry for Children favors a bedtime story over juice at bedtime.  Water is the best nightcap for any age.
  7. Here’s the bottom line about babies under 12 months old: Breastmilk or formula is all they need.
  8. Consumption of unpasteurized juice products is strongly discouraged for children of all ages.

How to Give Your Child Fruit Juice–the Healthy Way!

It is best to serve your children 100 percent fruit juices.  Although some juices appear to be fruit juice, be sure you read the label twice.  They could disguise tons of extra sugar and many other chemical ingredients.

No fruit juice for baby until he is 12 months old!

Baby doesn’t need fruit juice until he is 12 months old.

In the busy rush of modern life, we often forget that fruit juice comes from nature, neatly packaged in its very best form.  So, instead of giving children a cup of fruit juice, Dentistry for Children highly recommends giving them whole fruit, in all its rich and mouth-watering skin, fiber and pulp.

As Our Orlando summer continues to heat up, activities tempt us into bad dietary habits like drinking an excess amount of sugary drinks and soda.

Hydration is important, but we urge you to forego or greatly restrict the fruit juices.  At Dentistry for Children, we urge you to pack up plenty of ice water for the picnic or outing.

There is no other liquid treat as healthy and thirst-quenching as crispy, cold water on a hot summer day.  And when you see your children’s healthy smiles at their next dental visit, you’ll be very glad you made that choice.