Don’t Let That Fruit Juice Fool You – It Has Decay Written All Over It

We all know the importance of a healthy diet. Not only does eating healthy food keep our bodies well, it keeps our teeth healthy as well. Fruit and fruit products seem like a good choice because they can be nutritious. However, drinking fruit juice can have a detrimental effect on your teeth.

What’s the news about fruit juice?

Fruit juices and smoothies may seem like a healthy and nutritious choice, but they are actually quite bad for your teeth. This is especially bad news because many people substitute fruit juice for soda, thinking that it is a healthier choice. However, fruit juices are often acidic and contain a lot of sugar. When fruit juice consumption is combined with the acid that the bacteria in the mouth naturally release, the enamel on your teeth can be worn away. Though fruit juice can be very nutritious, the acid and sugar in them can be very harmful for your teeth. Acidic fruit juices like cranberry or lime juice can actually contain more acid than vinegar. When they are consumed excessively, they can wear away the enamel on your teeth. Orange juice, a popular choice for many people is so acidic that it softens the teeth and roughens their surface, making them more prone to cavities and decay. Smoothies, which are often a between meal snack are not good for the teeth both because their fruit content is concentrated and it can stick to the teeth, which can lead to tooth decay.

The scary impact on your teeth

Tooth enamel is destroyed when acid levels in the mouth drop below 5.5 on the pH scale. On the pH scale, 7 is neutral and a pH of 1 is a very strong acid. Water, which is not at all acidic, has a pH of 7. Milk has a pH of 6.8. Vinegar, which is considered to be very acidic, has a pH between 2.4 and 3.4. Lime juice has a rating of 2.0—exactly the same as stomach acid. Coca-Cola, which is considered an incredibly acidic beverage, is actually less acidic than lime juice. Other fruit juices have a pH that ranges from 2.0 (lime juice) to 5.0 (guava nectar).

However, consuming fruit juice and smoothies is still okay—as long as you consume them in moderation. Instead of drinking fruit juices and smoothies as snack, consume them with meals. The saliva that your mouth produces when you eat a meal helps wash away a lot of the acid produced by food. Eat a small piece of cheese at the end of your meal because cheese can neutralize acid. You should also drink some water after drinking fruit juice or a smoothie to wash away even more acid. Though it may seem tempting to brush your teeth after drinking these beverages, wait at least an hour or two. The acid in these beverages softens the enamel on your teeth and you run the risk of brushing away your tooth enamel if you brush too soon.

Fruit juices and smoothies can still be nutritious, you can still continue to enjoy them, and you can still derive nutritional benefits. Just be cautious when you consume them.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
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