Can any dentists talk to me about giving juice to a toddler?

(7 Posts)
sambababy Wed 21-Sep-16 09:48:59

This will majorly out me but I need help please. DD is 2.4 and she drinks undiluted fresh fruit juice EVERY day. I've said over and over again to DH that the advice in the uk is not to give juice unless very diluted and he just laughs at me and says the uk advice is about shop-bought juice. He has an argument for everything I say, and to be honest, no amount of googling has produced anything helpful to contradict him. He says freshly squeezed juice is packed full of nutrients, our juicer removes the insoluble fibre, and that as long as her teeth are brushed it's fine. He'd happily give her a gallon of the stuff if she would drink it. He is what you could call stubborn, and unless I can prove what's wrong with it, he won't even discuss it. We live abroad where dental care advice seems to differ in general (eg brush teeth immediately after eating even if fruit, brush 3 times a day etc), and with access to lots of good fresh fruits. I can't find evidence for why drinking this juice is so much worse than eating the fruit itself (she eats LOTS of fruit too) but I'm terrified her teeth will be ruined. Plus DH is from a family of dentists!

DD drinks the juice in a small cup with no lid at breakfast, sometimes lunch, never in a sippy cup to graze on during the day. We did give straws before we ran out (expensive here). All other drinks in the day are water and she eats very little sugary foods like biscuits/cake/ice cream and no sweets.

I guess specific questions I have are:
Why is it so much worse than eating fruit, if it's only at mealtimes? Is it that the amount of fruit in a juice is big and therefore more concentrated sugar?
Is juice much worse for milk teeth than adult teeth?
What is acceptable for a 2 year old?

If there are any dentists out there who can help me understand I will be forever grateful!

Orsono Wed 21-Sep-16 10:28:54

I'm not a dentist, but as I understand it, drinking fruit juice is worse than eating fruit because it contains a lot of sugar (as much as some fizzy drinks) but has less fibre in it and so takes less energy to eat and digest and is processed very fast. So home squeezed juice probably is better than shop bought, as it's likely to have more fibre in it. But it still won't have as much fibre as actually eating an orange. I don't think the advice on diluting it is primarily based on dental health - it's the worry about the high sugar intake in a child's diet.

Orsono Wed 21-Sep-16 10:30:18

Here's an article about it -

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/17/how-fruit-juice-health-food-junk-food

sambababy Fri 23-Sep-16 17:02:11

Thank you orsono. I showed that article to my DH and whilst it's still unclear how much of it refers to processed juice, there's definitely some good points and he's agreed we need to look at the portions at least. Phew!

It's so confusing because it's dentists always saying fruit juice is bad. If it was just about calories then docs would be talking about it too wouldn't they?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 23-Sep-16 17:12:27

My DH is a dentist and we have 3 children aged 3 and under

Basically we never give any type of juice at home - fresh or diluted. Water or milk only. Milk is to be drunk basically in one go and not to be sipped on.

Our 3 and 2 year olds are allowed juice when out for a meal but only with a meal. Most other dentists we know have the same rules for their kids.

The reason being that it is the number of intakes per day of sugary/acidic (including sugar free drinks) that causes decay. Juice with meals is not so bad as saliva is going and helps to deal with the problem

However, mission creep is the big issue in that once a smal child/toddler has the taste for juice then it can be hard to keep drinking simply to meal times and it can spread across the day. Plus if you brush your teeth less than around 30 minutes post the sugary/acid intake, you are actually damaging the enamel as it has been weakened so it's easier just to not have the juice as it is one of the most sugary/acidly things you can have. Most people won't eat 6 oranges on the trot but there is easily that in a glass of juice.

Decay in many older children/teenagers tends to be sugary drink based rather than food based - so the advice is to try and discourage them from getting into the habit of drinking sugary drinks.

No offence to your DH but my DH sees about 20 know-alls like your DH every week. I hope this advice will help a bit though!

RiverTam Fri 23-Sep-16 17:19:51

My mum is a retired children's dentist and she would say ideally no juice at all but if you must then you treat it like squash and dilute it. And preferably drunk it with a straw. Never put juice or squash in a bottle.

Your DH sounds a bit of a bellend tbh. Does he always ignore expert advice?

sambababy Fri 23-Sep-16 23:51:19

Thanks for these replies. It makes total sense to me. Partly in DH's defence, the advice over here is different so he's not necessarily ignoring the expert advice, more ignoring me and anything I say about uk guidelines hmm His mum (he & his mum both not from uk) used to be a dentist so I asked her what she thought about it. She said there's no problem with a child drinking juice and the only advice they give concerning drinks is about soft drinks like fizzy/added sugar stuff. I'm going to take DD to a dentist next just in case someone unrelated has different advice!

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