a woman getting a dental checkup

Do you drink a glass of juice with your breakfast or send a juice box in your child’s school lunch every day? Many people include juice in their daily meals and routines without considering the consequences this can have on their teeth and oral health.  

While eating fruit whole is generally considered healthy, which may explain why so many people assume drinking fruit juice is also good for their health. Most experts agree, however, that regularly drinking fruit juice is damaging to our teeth. The majority of fruit juices are highly acidic and contain significant amounts of sugar, making them hard on your teeth and oral health. 

Read on to learn more about how fruit juice can affect your teeth, how to protect your teeth from damage, and other drinks that are much better for your teeth and overall health. 

How Sugar Affects the Teeth  

The primary reason why fruit juice can cause damage to your teeth is that it contains high levels of sugar. A cup of orange juice contains as much as 21 grams of sugar, which is the same amount that is contained in half a can of cola. A cup of apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar and a cup of grape juice contains more than 36 grams of sugar.  

As most people are aware, sugar is widely considered one of the worst substances for your teeth. Sugar feeds the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth, which in turn produces damaging acid. This acid affects the protective layer of your teeth, called enamel, which can lead to cavities. The more sugar that is consumed by an individual, the more likely it is that they will develop significant problems with their teeth.  

Whole fruit isn’t as damaging to the teeth because it contains significant amounts of fibre. The sugar in the fruit is contained within the fibre, making whole fruit healthier to consume regularly. When fruit is squeezed or blended into juice, the fibre is removed which in turn makes the sugar more damaging to the teeth.  

Fruit Juice is Highly Acidic 

Not only is fruit juice high in sugar, but it is also highly acidic. Foods and drinks that are highly acidic are problematic because the acidity will erode the enamel of the teeth. More specifically, the acid in fruit juices erodes the hard protective layer (enamel) of the teeth.  

Damage to the teeth due to juice can be even worse when juice is drunk slowly. Research has shown that individuals who drink juice slowly are more likely to develop enamel erosion than individuals who drink juice quickly.  

Replace your Juice with These Instead 

So if drinking juice daily is not recommended, what should you drink instead? The most obvious answer is to drink water. Water has a neutral pH, meaning it effectively combats acidity in your mouth. Water is also, of course, free of damaging sugars. It’s also free, easily accessible, and depending on where you live, has a small amount of added fluoride for the health of your teeth. Water is one of the few drinks that has many benefits for the health of your teeth and is not harmful in any way.  

Some of the other drinks that you can replace fruit juice with include:  

Milk: Milk is chock full of essential minerals, proteins, and vitamins, all of which are great for the health of your teeth. Phosphorus and calcium work to strengthen the bones in your body, including the teeth, and can strengthen and repair damaged tooth enamel. Milk also contains vitamin D which protects against gum disease by decreasing any inflammation in the gums. Finally, milk contains a certain protein called casein which forms a protective film on the surfaces of the teeth and in turn protects the enamel against tooth decay. While it is true that milk contains naturally occurring sugars, generally speaking, these sugars do not pose a threat to the health of your teeth.  

White or Green Tea:  Tea is a popular drink around the world, but not all teas are created equal when it comes to the health of your teeth. White and green teas are considered the best for your teeth as they contain antioxidants that combat bacteria and reduce any inflammation in the gums without staining your teeth the way black teas will. White tea contains naturally occurring fluoride as well, which strengthens the enamel.  

How Else Can I Protect My Teeth? 

While it is important to limit your fruit juice intake, there are many other things you can do to protect your teeth and optimize your oral health. A strong oral health routine must include brushing twice daily, flossing once per day, and seeing your dentist regularly for routine cleanings and checkups.  

If you want to learn more about how we can optimize your oral health or to book your appointment, contact our Guelph dentist’s office today!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *