No. Fortunately, real 100% fruit juice doesn’t cause tooth decay – despite growing suspicion to the contrary. Some people even believe that drinking juice is as bad for your teeth as having a soft drink. However, there is clinical evidence that strongly suggests children who drink real 100% fruit juice do not experience any tooth decay as a result.
The problem is the “fake” fruit juice products out there that are starting to give real 100% fruit juice a bad name and reputation.
The research that proves it
A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2014 collected data from 2,290 preschool children following a dental checkup in the United States, between the years 1999 and 2004. The children were aged 2 to 5, and drank between 118ml and 177ml of fruit juice in the previous 24 hours before a checkup. Environmental factors, such as their socio-economic background, were also taken into consideration.
The results of the US study showed that there was no link between children who drank 100% fruit juice and signs of tooth decay & early childhood caries (ECC). The US researchers recommended consumption should be limited to between 118ml and 177ml, and for that guideline to taught to preschool within their general health education.
Beware of the 100% fruit juice imitators!
The “100% fruit juice”, which the US researchers referred to, means juice made directly from fruit, as opposed to a fruit juice product. The latter are basically water with added powdered fruit concentrates, high levels of sugar, preservatives and/or other ingredients. Unfortunately, these “fruit juice” products are easily mistaken for real 100% fruit juice by consumers via misleading labelling. A variety of misnomers are used with the intention of fooling consumers into thinking that they are buying 100% fruit juice – when in fact, they are just buying water with acidic additives that actually cause tooth decay & erosion in kids.
Misnomers to watch out for include “fresh”, “pure”, “natural” and “enriched with Vitamin C”, to name a few. However, some fruit juice product labels take it one step further, blatantly claiming the product contains 100% fruit juice, when in fact it is made from concentrates.
So next time you buy 100% fruit juice, don’t forget to check the ingredients list! Better still, avoid the fake juice minefield at the supermarket, and simply make the freshest 100% fruit juice for your kids – right there in your own kitchen.
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