Everybody knows fruits and vegetables are good for you. Whether you eat them in their most natural state, or you drink them as juices, getting five servings of fruits and vegetables daily is recommended by healthcare providers to ensure your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to remain healthy. In fact, many health experts suggest drinking fruit and vegetable juices, or even purchasing a juicer, as an effective means of getting all the nutrients you require every day. But what does all that juice do to your teeth? Is juice healthy for teeth? Are some juices better for teeth than others? And what about the sugars in juices? Are natural juice sugars as bad for teeth as added sugars? You may be surprised at the answers to these and other dental questions.
You already know that eating sugary foods such as candy, cakes, and cookies can be hazardous to your teeth, especially if you indulge in these often. But so, too, can even some of the healthiest of juices be harmful… to your teeth. When it comes to sugar, the teeth and gums do not discriminate. Drinking juices that contain sugar, especially the processed kind, can cause damage to enamel because the sugar in them is converted to acid that leads to bacteria that are harmful to all the structures in the mouth. Although it’s a fact that our mouths have bacteria all the time, it’s also true that such bacteria, when left to build up, can cause serious damage to teeth and gums. What many don’t know about juice, though, is that even natural fruit juices contain sugars that can harm teeth.
Another substance in many juices, especially citrusy fruit juices that can harm your teeth is acid. Acid is a known foe of the teeth because it can cause enamel to erode over time. Although enamel may seem tough, the truth is that it can be more vulnerable than it looks. Because the teeth take a beating pretty much every day, your teeth’s enamel takes a good deal of that abuse. Fruit juices that contain acid can be harmful to teeth, especially when they’re consumed in large amounts. Citrusy juices such as cranberry, lime, and orange juices all have acids that can work to erode tooth enamel. And, although one recent study found that of these, orange juice contains the least amount of acid and is recommended over the others for those who enjoy drinking fruit juices, which citrusy juice is the least harmful to teeth is still a hotly debated subject among dental experts.
Drinking juice can be very advantageous to the body, especially when it’s freshly squeezed. Healthy juices contain vital nutrients that keep the body running smoothly and functioning properly. However, drinking juices that contain a lot of citrus and/or sugar can cause damage to the teeth and surrounding structures. If you’re someone who enjoys a nice glass of juice for breakfast (or at any other time), consider drinking juices that don’t contain a lot of citrus. More importantly, limit or eliminate altogether juices that contain added sugar. Consider buying a juicer or other processor that will create juice that doesn’t have processed sugar added to it. Another trick that dentists recommend is to drink through a straw. This way, sugars and other substances contained in many juices won’t be swished around in the mouth causing damage to teeth, but will rather largely bypass teeth and gums compared to drinking straight from a glass.
The good news about juices is that many of them contain the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body functioning optimally. The bad news, of course, is that many of them also contain substances that are not healthy for your teeth. So what do you if you love juice, love what it does for your body, but don’t love what it could be doing to your teeth? Many top dentists in New Jersey recommend limiting your intake. But if that doesn’t sound like a good option to you, they also recommend diluting any fruit juices you consume with a little water to reduce the effects. Other recommendations include brushing more often, drinking through a straw, and never swishing it around in your mouth, as the idea is to limit contact with enamel as much as possible. This way, you can still enjoy your favorite fruit juices without the negative impact on your dental health.