It’s a familiar scene, driving with your child in the backseat as they complain that they’re hungry. You have the solution: rip off the top of a fruit pouch and pass it back with no problem. Instant pacifier. Fruit pouches have become a go-to for parents and are considered to be healthy snacks for children.
With their variety of flavors and portability the sales of squeezable fruit have soared in the past few years. Plum Organics, the originator of the concept told The New York Times that it estimated its sales in 2012 to be at $53 million up from $4,800 when they started selling the pouches in 2008.
My 2-year-old niece’s diet consists almost exclusively of these pouches. So much so that my sister-in-law is afraid she’s going to be shipping her cases of strawberry banana smoothie when she’s in college. However it seems the very reasons parents love the them — there’s no mess and kids can eat them on the go — may be causing cavities.
“The constant exposure of sugar on their teeth is detrimental,” says Paul Casamassimo, the oral health research and policy center director at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. “My concern would be if the child walks around with this little pouch, then they might be doing the same thing,” he says.
Carbohydrates in all foods are used by bacteria to produce acid, and the acid eats away at the enamel of the teeth, creating the potential for cavities ”” a growing problem among all children, he says.
And the pouch food, because of its consistency, may be particularly tough on teeth if it’s allowed to sit there for long periods. “We know that tends to stick on teeth and prolong the opportunity for the bacteria to build,” he says.
Brushing kids’ teeth twice a day and making them rinse with water after eating the pouch foods or drinking juice can help, Cassamassimo says.
Since these pouches are a favorite for parents as an on-the-go snack, rinsing after eating isn’t the most feasible. Getting a child to sit still long enough to eat is hard enough. Getting them to brush their teeth after finishing a snack would be next to impossible.