Does the label “100 percent fruit juice” lead you to believe a drink is healthier? Drinks advertised in this way might seem like a good choice for nutrition, but they contain hidden risks to teeth and gums.
A Sneaky Source of Sugar
Fruit juice is considered a solid source of vitamins and minerals. Many juices contain vitamin C and potassium. However, many are also high in sugar. According to one study, fruit juice may contain as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 100 milliliters – akin to colas and some sports drinks. Many also contain acid, which can erode tooth enamel if it is not washed away.
Sugar, as you may know, is a leading cause of tooth decay. Bacteria feed on it, excreting acid that attacks tooth enamel if it is not removed daily. When you drink juice, sugar settles into the grooves of the teeth, between teeth, and along the gum line. This can cause gum irritation and even periodontal disease. This effect is compounded when juices contain a lot of acid – such as with citrus.
Juicing and Your Oral Health
Juicing and juice cleanses typically contain concentrated sugars. If you do a juice cleanse, in which you give up solid food for a day or more, you will likely miss out on chewing. The act of chewing produces a flow of saliva that washes food particles off of teeth. Some foods, such as firm-skinned fruit, also clean teeth as you chew them.
Moderation is Key
There is no reason you shouldn’t enjoy drinking a glass of juice, but you should do so in moderation. Here are other tips from our Louisville endodontist to enjoy the benefits of juice and reduce the risks.
- Drink, don’t sip. Drinking in a single sitting limits prolonged exposure to the sugars in juice.
- Swish with water. Force water into crevices and between teeth after consuming sweet juices to prevent it from sticking.
- Delay tooth brushing. Studies show it is better to wait a half hour or so after drinking sweet and acid juices so you don’t add friction to potential erosion.
- Water down your juice. It may mitigate the effects of sugar and acid.
- Use a straw. This reduces juice’s contact with teeth.
Studies show that eating solid fruit can be a better choice for oral and overall health. The skin adds fiber to the diet and scrapes sugar off of teeth. As mentioned earlier, the chewing action also creates cleansing saliva that washes harmful substances away.
Maintaining optimal oral health at home and professional teeth cleaning removes plaque and tartar above and below the gumline.
Left untreated, bacteria on teeth can cause infection and decay that may require treatment. If you have concerns about your oral health, call our endodontics office in Louisville, KY today and schedule an evaluation.