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Kids' Dental Health Is Being Compromised by Fruit Juice, Dentists Say

Update Date: Apr 12, 2013 12:12 PM EDT
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Many well-intentioned parents know to look after the children's teeth. They make sure that their kids brush their teeth twice a day, take them to the dentist every six months and make sure that their kids do not overload on sweets. However, a dentist group says that there is one thing that parents do not do. In an effort to make sure that their child has the necessary five fruits a day, they give their child fruit juice. The British Dental Association says that is a no-no; drinking fruit juices can put kids' teeth at risk for acids and sugars, which can harm their teeth.

According to the Daily Mail, unsweetened fruit juice is considered to count as a portion of the recommended five fruits per day. As a result, 25 percent of toddlers drink fruit juice on a regular basis; in addition, two thirds of children munch on sugary snacks between meals.

However, the British Dental Association says that, even without added sugars, crushing the fruits in order to make juice releases sugars and acids. Those sugars and acids do more damage to teeth than if toddlers simply ate the fruits whole or in slices. The dentists say that parents should limit toddlers' intake of fruit juice to 150 milligrams per day. Smoothies should be eliminated from children's diets altogether, because they are normally eaten between meals. They are also concentrated and stick to children's teeth.

At such a young age, it is difficult to find nutritional options for toddlers that are not sweet. However, dentists provide tips. "To combat this, it is important to try to keep their consumption to mealtimes, and ensure they only drink water or milk between meals," Nigel Carter said to the Daily Mail. "Bear in mind it is better for the child's teeth and general health if they have three meals a day instead of  seven to ten 'snack attacks', many of which will contain sugar."

A study found that 30 percent of five-year-olds in the United Kingdom have poor dental health. Eating high amounts of sugar can also elevate the risk of obesity, heart disease and liver problems.

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