When Giving Your Child Fruit Choices, Proceed With Caution

18 December 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


As a parent, you work hard to keep your child healthy by giving them a balanced and nutritional diet. When you give your child a fruit-based option, you probably think you are aligning perfectly with this goal. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. There are a number of fruit-based selections that can have a negative effect on your child's oral health. Make sure you know what to look out for, in order to protect your little one's mouth, teeth and gums.

Fruit Juice

Some fruit juices might as well be dubbed, liquid sugar. A 12-ounce glass of soda can contain 10 teaspoons of sugar. Did you know that a 12-ounce glass of apple juice contains an equal amount of sugar and a glass of grape juice can contain 15 teaspoons of sugar? In this scenario, the cola is the better choice.

Bacteria in the mouth feed off this sugar and create acids that eat away at the child's tooth enamel. Even worse, since some fruit juices, such as orange juice naturally have high-acidic values, combined this can accelerate the rate at which the enamel is destroyed.

Canned Fruit

Unfortunately, fresh produce often has a short shelf life and can sometimes be quite expensive. Canned fruit seems like a smart alternative because it lasts longer and is often less expensive. However, in terms of oral health, canned options don't offer any advantages.

Many of these selections contain fruit that is swimming around in a thick, sugary syrup. This syrup gets absorbed into the fruit, increasing its sugar level and also the risk of enamel damage to your child's teeth. All canned fruit options aren't bad. A better alternative is to choose options that don't contain any syrup or added sugar.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a popular option for parents as an on-the-go snack. The risk of dried fruit comes from the fact that most of the fruit's natural water content is extracted during the drying process. The only thing that is really left behind is sugar.

Additionally, since the dried fruit often has a smaller volume than a traditional piece of fruit, children sometimes tend to eat more of these snacks, which only further increases their risk of a sugar-related dental issue.

Whenever possible, giving your child fresh fruit is the ideal option. Fresh fruit still has its full nutritional value and often contains less sugar, keeping your child's overall and oral health in better shape. For more teeth-friendly snacking tips, talk to a dentist, like Jeffrey S. Thaller DMD.