Juice, whether it’s cold-pressed or warm and steaming, is hot right now. Sometimes it seems like a juice bar has sprung up on every corner and a juicer adorns every kitchen countertop. As far as trends go, this seems to be a relatively healthy one. But is juice good for your teeth?
What are the (proven) benefits of drinking juice?
It’s convenient: It’s easier to pick up a smoothie from a juice bar than to spend time washing and chopping fruits and veggies.
It’s nutritious: It can be tough to get enough fruits and veggies in your diet. A vegetable smoothie is like a salad that you can eat on the run.
What are the (unproven) claims?
Lemon water detox: Many people start their day by drinking lemon water — warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice — believing that it will boost their metabolism and cleanse their system. Has this been proven in clinical studies? No. But water can make you feel full, so you might be inclined to eat less later.
So what’s the downside?
It’s not as nutritious as whole fruits and vegetables. Juice is healthy, but whole foods are even healthier. For starters, they’re high in fiber, which can make you feel full and helps your digestion.
It can cause a sugar spike. Juice is basically liquid sugar, and liquids are more readily absorbed than solids, so drinking juice can cause your body to produce too much insulin. Which is not a good thing.
It is acidic. From a dental perspective, this is the real downside. The acid in juice, especially in lemon juice, will lower the PH level in your mouth and damage the enamel that protects your teeth.
So what should you do?
Use a straw. Drinking sugary beverages through a straw will limit the contact between your pearly whites and the damaging sugar and acid in the juice.
Everything in moderation. The occasional smoothie is fine, as long as you don’t overdo it.
Catherine Solmes. “All the Juicy Details.” youroralhealth.ca (spring-summer 2016) pp. 12-13.