Pure unsweetened fruit juices are a good source of vitamin C. However, they contain natural sugar and are acidic. The combination of sugar and acidity can damage children’s teeth.
When to introduce fruit juice to Your Child
It is recommended that you wait until after your baby is 12 months old before offering them juice. Pediatricians often advise against giving Your Child juice regularly, because juice can cause tooth decay and provide lots of calories without the nutrition children get from other foods.
Tips to give juice the right way
However, if you choose to give Your Child fruit juice, these tips might help:
- Serve only 100 percent fruit juice — avoid juice drinks or powdered drinks mixes that contain sweeteners
- Serve fruit juice only at mealtimes and dilute the juice with water
- Offer juice in a cup and not in a bottle; this prevents tooth decay
- Opt for juice with a mild flavor, such as apple
- Limit the juice to no more than 100 ml per day
Potential dangers associated with fruit juice
- Unpasteurized juice may contain harmful bacteria, such as E-coli and Salmonella
- Excessive consumption of juice, particularly apple juice, may cause loose bowel movements or diarrhea
- Fruit juices that contain sorbitol or high levels of fructose as sweeteners may cause restlessness, gas, and stomach distress in infants. Especially babies find it difficult to break down those compounds
- Drinking too much juice can lead to malnutrition or anemia because the child won’t be getting important nutrients from other foods
- Consuming a lot of juice can damage the enamel of the teeth, causing the teeth to decay. This is especially a problem when you offer the juice in bottles rather than cups
- Drinking too much fruit juice has also been associated with short stature and obesity.
Use fruit juice to treat constipation
Constipation can sometimes occur when a younger child (especially under age 1) starts eating solid foods. Some doctors recommend the use of a small amount of fruit juice to treat constipation. So, if Your Child has constipation, 100 percent pure apple, prune, or pear juice may help. Before you use juice as treatment, consult your child’s doctor.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (22 July 2021)