Baby, This Juice is For You!
Being a parent is tough. There are so many options for every aspect of raising a child. From providing a nutritious diet, to choosing a college and everything in between, parents are bombarded with life-changing decisions. In past research, juice has gotten a bad rap for contributing to Early Childhood Caries/cavities (ECC) . New studies have indicated that 100% juice (with no sugar added) does NOT contribute to ECC. This is great news, as it is hard enough to fit all of the fruit and veggie servings into our children's diets with our busy schedules.
The ADA defines ECC as the presence of one or more decayed (cavity), missing (due to cavities) or filled tooth surfaces in any "baby" tooth in a preschool-age child between birth and 71 months of age. Many of you may have noticed this on the Kindergarten exam form.
Some suggestions for preventing cavities in young children are:
Mom keeping her own mouth healthy, as the bacteria that cause disease can be transmitted (Yes, dental cavities may be contagious!).
Stop breastfeeding after baby has teeth
No liquids other than water in a bottle at bedtime, when teeth are present
Encourage cup drinking, not sippy cup for prolonged use
Have an exam done by the dentist within 6-12 months of first erupted tooth, and ask about what preventative measures may be necessary.
Avoid sugary drinks such as soda and juices with sugar added
hen sugary drinks are consumed, limit them to meal-times (vs. sipping for extended periods of time).
We can't protect our children from everything in life, but with a little extra effort, hopefully we can protect them from cavities! Lastly, if your child (or yourself) gets a cavity, don't beat yourself up. It is no indication of what kind of person or parent you are. It simply means that your (or your child's) mouth has the bacteria present that cause cavities. Some folks get cavities easier than others!
Kristina Wagers, RDH
Journal of American Dental Association, December 2014 Volume 145, Issue 12, Pages 1254–1261