Juicing continues to be a big trend in our country. Everyone is promoting the value of fruit juices, especially those who run juice stands or sell juicing machines. They want you to think that if you’re not juicing, you’re not healthy.
But the truth is actually the opposite. Juicing can be very unhealthy for your body–and your teeth! In The Washington Post, diabetes specialists recently exposed the health dangers of fruit juice, such as weight gain and diabetes. They neglected to mention that fruit juice can also be very bad for your teeth! But with a few simple tips you can protect your teeth from juice-related cavities and erosion.
Fruit Juice Is Higher in Sugar
It’s important to remember that fruit juice is a processed food. You take the natural fruit and process it, which alters the natural proportions in the fruit. What you lose is the fiber, the protein, and many of the vitamins. What you retain is the sugar.
When you drink fruit juice, you make sure bacteria in your mouth can get all that sugar–it’s free-floating in the mouth. But when you eat a fruit, chewing releases some of the sugar, but not all. When you eat whole fruit, oral bacteria get less sugar so they don’t grow as much and they don’t release as much acid on your teeth, increasing your risk of cavities.
Fruit Juice Is More Acidic
When fruit is processed into juice, it becomes more acidic. Orange juice is more than twice as acidic as a whole orange!
The problem with the acid in fruit juice is the same as the problem for sugar. When you drink juice, you bathe your teeth in acid. There’s an immediate attack on your teeth.
But when you eat a whole fruit, chewing releases the acid more slowly. And the act of chewing stimulates the release of saliva. Saliva neutralizes the acid to help protect your teeth from erosion.
Make Fruit Part of a Tooth-Healthy Diet
But you don’t have to cut fruit juices out of your diet completely. You can enjoy the taste and health benefits of fruit juice (yes, there still are some!) if you follow a few simple rules.
Eat whole fruits daily: You should be eating fruit every day, mostly in the form of whole fruits. This will give you the maximum benefit of vitamins with the minimum of damage.
Consider fruit juice a treat: Don’t make fruit juice your go-to beverage. Don’t have it as a regular snack or with every meal. Instead, think of it as a treat, and only drink it once in awhile. And if you use it to replace other “treat” beverages like soda, coffee, or tea–which can also damage teeth–you’ll be better off.
Rinse with water after drinking juice: If you let acids and sugars from juice linger in your mouth, they can do damage for a long time. But you can protect your teeth by following your juice with a glass of water.
Just a few simple tips like this can make a big difference at your next checkup. We also help protect your teeth with CariFree products that can reduce damage from sugary and acidic foods. Protecting your teeth will reduce your risk for cavities and you won’t need as much reconstructive dentistry.