Fruit Juices - Are they good for you?
Eating plenty of fruit is something that is drummed into many of us from a fairly young age. Fruits are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals that help keep us healthy and our immune system firing on all cylinders. Vitamin C is especially important for oral health, and many fruits, including strawberries, cherries, papayas, kiwis, citrus fruits and watermelon all contain high concentrations of this important nutrient. However, while eating whole fruit is generally considered to be very healthy and beneficial for your body, drinking lots of fruit juices can have serious consequences for the condition of your teeth. Why is fruit juice bad for your teeth and is there any type of fruit juice that won’t damage them that you can safely enjoy? Let's find out.
Fruit juice contains sugar
One of the main reasons why fruit juice is bad for your teeth is because fruits are high in natural sugars. In fact, it is estimated that a single cup of orange juice contains around 21g of sugar – that is about the same as half a can of Coke. If you think that’s a lot, grape juice has been found to have as much as 36g of sugar in a single cup.
Unfortunately, sugar is the arch nemesis of healthy teeth. This is because it is the sugars in the foods we eat and drinks we consume that interact with the bacteria in our mouths to cause tooth decay. When the sugars and bacteria come into contact with one another they produce acid which attacks the enamel of the teeth, causing it to deteriorate. This enables cavities to develop, and with the softer and more sensitive layers of the teeth exposed, patients also go on to develop tooth pain.
Fruit juice is acidic
If enamel erosion caused by decay wasn’t bad enough, the acids in fruit juice can also damage the enamel of your teeth even further. The longer that the acids are in contact with your teeth the more damage they can cause.
Why is eating whole fruit different from drinking fruit juice?
There is one distinct reason why eating a whole fruit is better for your teeth than drinking a glass of fruit juice. Whole fruits also contain high levels of fiber, another important nutrient. However, since the sugars in whole fruits bind to this fiber, it limits the effect that it can have on your teeth. Sugars in fruit juice are uncompromised, making them disastrous for your dental health.
Is there a way to enjoy fruit juice without it damaging your teeth?
It is still possible to enjoy fruit juice, but dental experts recommend that you limit the amount that you drink and take some other stops to help prevent the impact that they can have on your oral health. Some of the things that you can do to enable you to drink fruit juice without damaging your teeth include:
- Drinking through a straw so that the fruit juice doesn’t come into direct contact with your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water or take a large drink of water after eating fruit to dilute the acids in your mouth.
- Wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth after consuming fruit. This will give your enamel time to settle after being exposed to the acid.
- Make sure you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste as fluoride helps to strengthen enamel.
- Make sure that you choose fruit juices that don’t have any added sugars or colorings as these will cause even more damage to your teeth.
Although fruit juice isn’t great for your teeth, it is possible to enjoy it occasionally. However, where you can, opt for whole fruits and a glass of water instead or dilute your natural fruit juice with ice water to prevent the damage it can cause to your smile.
For more information on the impact of fruit juice on your teeth, please contact our offices.