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‘Five a day’ could damage children’s teeth


Health-conscious parents will be disappointed to learn that encouraging their children to drink fruit juice and smoothies every day could be doing more harm than good, according to the Royal College of Surgeons. Half of five-year-olds in the UK showed signs of enamel erosion during a recent study, because the acid in fruit juice attacks the porous shell of the teeth as it releases sugars.

Kathy Harley, Dean of the dental faculty at the College has suggested that schools should provide an alternative to juice during the lunch hour, such as water or milk. She also said that it would be a good idea to limit the intake of smoothies and juice drinks to once a week, as a weekend treat perhaps. The NHS doesn’t go that far, but dentists are in agreement that the amount children drink on a daily basis has to be monitored carefully, otherwise their teeth could become severely eroded, and they advise parents to offer fruit juice during mealtimes, as this is thought to do less damage to the enamel.

Damien Walmsley of the British Dental Association spoke to the Daily Mail, saying that juice drinks should be kept to meal times, ‘That [may] go against the [recommendation of] five portions of fruit and vegetables a day,’ he says, ‘but it is not a good idea snacking on it because of the continual drip, drip, on to the tooth.’

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