We’ve talked before about the impact of soda on your oral health (diet soda is as bad as crack cocaine): how sugars and acid in the drinks can lead to tooth erosion and cavities that require more reconstructive dentistry. And we have also learned about the oral health risks associated with sports drinks. But what about fruit juice? Fruit juice can be acidic, and it often contains a lot of sugar, so shouldn’t it also contribute to tooth decay?
Studies Show no Cavity Risk for Juice
Over the years, there have been many studies that focused on the potential link between fruit juice and cavities. The most recent study conducted by the American Dental Association was the largest. It considered the juice consumption and cavity occurrence in about 2300 children between the ages of 2 and 5. Juice consumption was rated as either a simple yes or no, but also how much juice was consumed and how frequently.
They found that there was no statistically significant link between juice consumption and cavities. If anything, they found that consuming more fruit juice led to a lower risk of cavities. They also found that even children who consumed more than the recommended amount of juice (6 ounces a day) were not at an increased risk of cavities.
Why Doesn’t Juice Cause Cavities?
The next question we have to ask is why doesn’t fruit juice lead to cavities? There are three good answers to this question. First, it’s likely that parents who give their kids juice are likely to be more health-oriented and encourage good oral hygiene among their kids. The second is that juice is not as acidic and sugary as soda, so it doesn’t lead to the same serious health effects. Finally, it’s possible that antibacterial compounds in juice have enough of a protective effect to prevent the development of cavities.
This last theory isn’t as farfetched as it might seem at first. Raisins, for example, have chemicals that have been shown to suppress the growth of oral bacteria.
What This Means for You
Of course the findings of this study have important implications for family dentistry, but they matter to the rest of us, too. Cavity prevention is made of up many factors, including regular dental checkups and at-home oral hygiene. Diet is an important factor. If you’re drinking soda, it’s time to cut down or eliminate it entirely. Although you should substitute water for soda most of the time, this study shows it’s probably okay to have some 100% juice as well from time to time.
If you would like a partner in maintaining your oral health, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a Philadelphia dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.