100 Percent Fruit Juice Not Associated With Cavities In Young Children, Study Authors Say

One hundred percent fruit juice is not associated with the development of cavities in early childhood, a study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association determined.

“Since the 1990s, the beverage consumption patterns of children have changed,” the authors wrote. “More children are drinking beverages with added sugar, such as sodas and soda pop, juice drinks, and other sugary drinks instead of milk and water. One hundred percent fruit juice is another beverage that has had a large increase in consumption.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines “100 percent fruit juice” as a beverage made from fruit. One hundred percent fruit juice difference from juice drinks, which contain water, added sugars, other ingredients.

In the JADA article, the authors analyzed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2,290 children who were 2 to 5 years old. They examined the association between intake of 100 percent fruit juice and “early childhood caries” according to poverty and race/ethnicity among U.S. preschoolers.

Dental professionals and researchers refer to dental cavities as early childhood caries (ECC). The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines ECC as the presence of one or more decayed, missing (due to decay) or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a child under the age of six. ECC are more likely to affect “socially vulnerable children,” the articles authors said. Socially vulnerable children include those living in poverty and those who belong to ethnic minority groups, they said.

Finding no association between intake of 100 percent fruit juice and cavities in the preschoolers’ data, the authors advise dental practitioners to educate their patients and communities about the low risk association. They advise limiting servings of 100 percent fruit juice to between four and six ounces per day for children ages 1 through 5 years.

The American Dental Association has information about cavities and tooth decay on Mouthhealthy.org, its consumer information website. Search the A-Z Topics from the home page.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Tips for a Healthy Diet

  • Foods high in sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. Making these foods a treat rather than a staple will help protect your teeth.

  • To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups.

  • When choosing a snack, go for nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit.