Why You Should Just Say No to Juice and Soda for Kids
Keeping little ones hydrated and healthy is important for their busy and growing bodies, but many parents know it can also be challenging to get their kids to eat the healthy fruits and vegetables they need for their rapidly developing bodies.
The tempting solution? Turning to fruit juices to hydrate and provide nutritional value.
Unfortunately, most fruit juices are loaded with as much sugar as soda – and little nutritional value to boot, especially compared to consuming the raw form of the fruit.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy (recommending that children less than one year should not be given any fruit juice, and that it should be limited for children ages 1-18 years.
How much is too much?
For school-age children 7-18 years old, consuming eight or fewer ounces per day is ideal. Preschoolers should be limited to four to six ounces per day, and toddlers should have no more than four ounces per day. Ultimately, making smart decisions around moderation is key.
Keep tooth decay at bay
Another misconception we often hear from parents is that baby teeth will just fall out. What’s the big deal if a baby tooth has a cavity from juice?
There are a few problems with this argument. One being the dental habits formed during childhood will likely carry through to adulthood. Setting good habits young is so important for lifelong dental health.
Another is that dentists will and do fix cavities in baby teeth. If left untreated, your child may experience pain, swelling, and infection – including affecting the developing adult tooth below.
As parents ourselves we know that it might feel like you are doing well to feed your kids fruit – in juice form. However, most fruit juices are mostly sugar-water and while it’ll leave their tummies feeling full, it does not have the nutritional value that a well-balanced meal or snack does. And though drinking fruit juices and sodas alone will not damage your child’s teeth forever, they create unnecessary risk for larger dental problems down the road. Saying “no” to juice now will be a lot easier than having to watch your child get his or her first cavity.