What Parents Need to Know About Fruit Juice and Infants

5/30/17   #Dental Health   #News
On May 22, 2017 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new recommendations on the appropriate consumption of fruit juice for infants, toddlers, and adolescents. The most significant guideline is that parents should avoid fruit juice for children under one year of age. The previous guideline was avoidance under 6 months.
 
The concern for the AAP is that juice offers no nutritional benefits early in life, and disrupts opportunity for what babies really need: breast milk or formula and their protein, fat and minerals like calcium.
 
Infants can be encouraged to consume whole fruit that is mashed or pureed as it has less sugar, less calories, and more fiber. After 1 year of age, fruit juice may be used as part of a meal or snack. The recommendations also mention that prolonged exposure to the sugars in juice are also a contributing factor to tooth decay. There are suggestions to offer juice to toddlers in a cup vs bottle to limit the exposure on the teeth.
 
When used as part of a healthy diet for children over the age of 1 year, parents should buy only 100% fresh or reconstituted fruit juice. AAP notes that fruit drinks are not nutritionally equivalent to fruit juice.
 
For full details, including those for children and adolescents, Dr. Frank Sierra and Dr. Brandon Larkin suggest reviewing the policy’s abstract.