Fruit juice and dental health


Fruit juice and dental health

1 min read

Many people are under the impression that the natural sugar content of fruit juice could present a risk to teeth but is this supported by scientific evidence?

A 2015 report on sugar and fibre,[1] published by the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, found no evidence for harmful effects of fruit juices in relation to risk of tooth decay in adults. For children, all acidic drinks were a concern for tooth erosion, regardless of their sugar content.

Highlighting this issue, a 2019 systematic literature review in Frontiers in Public Health[2] concluded that the available studies were inconclusive as to whether fruit juice impacts tooth decay and erosion. The authors reviewed data from studies in children and adolescents and found no link between fruit juice and tooth erosion or decay. However, randomised controlled trial data from studies in adults did suggest that high fruit juice intake could contribute to tooth erosion and decay.

But the authors of the systematic review pointed out that the intervention data came from short-term studies involving small numbers of participants. The studies involved the use of intraoral devices, which don’t give a realistic representation of plaque or saliva activity. Additionally, they were set up to study extremes of intakes rather than reflecting real-world juice consumption which, in Europe, equates to less than a quarter of a glass daily.

It's important to consider the wide range of nutrient benefits one 150ml glass of 100% fruit juice can give us each day. By contributing to 5 A Day in several countries, as well as maintaining healthy hydration levels, a simple glass of pure juice contains key nutrients for healthy teeth, including vitamin C and calcium.

Clearly, it’s about weighing up the pros and cons. To minimise risk to teeth, enjoy a small daily glass of 100% fruit juice with a meal and use a straw. And don’t forget that the best way to keep oral hygiene in check is to brush twice a day and keep your regular appointments with the dentist.

[1] SACN. (2015). Carbohydrates and Health.

[2] Liska et al. (2019).