True or False: Diluting juice with water will reduce the risk of cavities, making it better for teeth.

There is a common misconception that diluting juice with water is a good thing and a way to lesson the risk of cavities. Unfortunately, this is FALSE.

Diluting juice with water does not change the sugar content of the juice. The same amount of sugar remains in the cup, and it’s the sugar that causes cavities. Although the amount of sugar per sip may be less, adding water to juice increases the time it takes to drink all of the juice. And the longer period of time the teeth are exposed to sugar, the higher the potential for cavities to develop.

Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • Babies less than 1 year old: Juice should not be part of diet, as it provides NO nutritional benefits to children under 1.
  • Ages 1-3: Max of 4 oz. juice per day. This is only ½ cup daily!
  • Ages 4-6: Limit to 4-6 oz. per day. Equivalent of a single 6 oz. juice box daily.
  • Juice is best given at mealtime where it can be consumed in one sitting rather than sipped on slowly throughout the day.
  • Juice should NEVER be given to a baby at nap or bedtime! ONLY WATER should be in a baby bottle at bedtime.

Dr. Sarah Severson