In May, the American Academy of Pediatrics released several updated guidelines regarding the consumption of fruit juice for infants, toddlers, and children. The first update in 16 years, these new guidelines include limiting fruit juice intake for toddlers and completely cutting out fruit juice in the first year of a baby’s life.

No juice for children under one year of age

Previous guidelines from the AAP recommended that parents avoid giving 100 percent fruit juice to infants under six months of age. However, the updated guidelines suggest completely eliminating fruit juice from the baby’s diets during their first year of life. The main reason cited by the group is that fruit juice does not offer any nutritional benefits for babies one year or younger, and often times ends up taking the place of breast milk and formula, which are rich in essential minerals and nutrients.

The AAP’s recommendations state that drinking 100 percent fruit juice in moderation is fine for children over the age of one that are not overweight, however, they suggest that fruit juice not make up more than fifty percent of their recommended daily fruit consumption.

These new guidelines aim to combat the myth that fruit juice is a healthy substitute for real fruit, which is a richer source of vitamins and nutrients as well as fiber. Pediatrician and co-author of the guidelines, Steven Abrams, told NPR, “We want to reinforce that the most recent evidence supports that fruit juice should be a limited part of the diet of children.”

Dental health concerns surrounding fruit juice consumption in infants and children

In addition to concerns over healthy diet and adequate fruit consumption, dental health was also cited as one of the top reasons for the updated guidelines, with Dr. Abrams stating that whole fruit instead of fruit juice has a much lower likelihood of leading to dental decay. Dr. Man Wai Ng, head of pediatric dentistry at Boston Children’s Hospital, voiced her support of the new guidelines, telling the New York Times that, “One hundred percent fruit juice should be offered only on special occasions, especially for kids who are at high risk for tooth decay.”

Most parents have the best of intentions when giving their children fruit juice, thinking it is a natural and healthy beverage compared to sodas filled with added and artificial sweeteners, however just four ounces of 100 percent apple juice contains 60 calories, no fiber content, and 13 grams of sugar. Meanwhile, a half cup service of apple slices contains only 30 calories, 1.5 grams of fiber, and less than half of the sugar content of apple juice (5.5 grams of sugar). This high sugar content, along with the high acidity levels—even in natural and organic fruit juices—can often time lead to early enamel demineralization in infants and children.

Want to make sure your child’s diet is promoting good oral health?

It can be stressful trying to ensure your child is maintaining a healthy diet that also promotes good dental health. If you have questions or concerns about these new guidelines from the AAP on fruit juice and your child’s oral health, we suggest you consult with a pediatric dentist in your area. If you are looking for a family dentist serving Franklin, TN, our team is here to help! Contact us today.