Apple juice has been a choice beverage for children since seemingly forever. However, like many other fruit juices, apple juice is full of naturally occurring acids. While the fruit vitamins and nutrients are undoubtedly great for your child’s health, there is an increasing amount of concern regarding how all that acid affects teeth.
Teeth and Acid
The outermost layer of teeth, known as the enamel, is composed mainly of calcium phosphate, which is a particularly hard mineral substance. Acidic beverages can react with the calcium present in the enamel and erode away this surface layer of the tooth. The enamel is very important in protecting the sensitive inner layer, known as dentin, from exposure. Dentin houses the living cells of the tooth. Because the outermost layer, the enamel, takes a lot of the brunt damage dealt by acidic foods, it can’t house living cells. So as you can imagine, a worn away enamel can allow incoming food and drink to wreak havoc on the softer inner layers of your tooth.
Several factors go into determining how an acid will affect your teeth. Apple juice and other acidic drinks are characterized by their low pH level, which is a measure of how strong an acid is. Apple juice has a pH around 3.5, classifying it as one of the more acidic juice options. Exposure time also plays a large role here. When enjoying your drink, don’t hold it in your mouth for unnecessary amounts of time, as this will only give the acid a better chance to eat away at your teeth. Use a straw to minimize the contact between the juice and your teeth. If possible, get your child to rinse their mouth with some water to lessen the effect even more.
You’ll find no disagreement on apple juice’s deliciousness here. Despite the concerns, there are still many positives to choosing apple juice, especially when you compare it to other high-sugar alternatives, like pop. However, it’s always good to know more about what your kids are drinking. Like many other things, moderation is key. A glass of apple juice here or there is unlikely to have a lasting impact on teeth. But if you’ve got a kid who can’t get enough of the stuff, you may want to start weaning them off and offering a less acidic drink, such as water, more frequently.
Have further questions or concerns? Bow Trail Dental is happy to help you out! Visit us at bowtraildental.com, or call our office at (403) 240-1257.