Squeezable Baby Food Pouches May Hurt Young Teeth

The popular squeezable baby food snacks that allow babies and toddlers to suck pureed food directly form foil pouches may actually be harmful to growing teeth, according to a statement from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).  The new statements about the pouches, which were launched in 2008 by Plum Organics and now are made by a number of baby food brands, makes similar recommendations to what the AAPD already says about babies who walk around with milk- or juice-filled sippy cups.  More from NPR.org:

“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.

In fact, the academy recommends ditching the sippy cup and going straight from bottle to cup between 12 and 15 months because of the potential risk of tooth decay. Casamassimo calls them “baby bottle methadone.”

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.

Image: Smiling toddler, via Shutterstock

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  1. by Jude

    On February 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I guess I am a bit disheartened by this and somewhat perplexed as well. Does this also mean we should avoid giving children applesauce as well? Is it the delivery system (ie the sucking motion used) that makes it worse for the teeth? My son is rather fond of the spinach pear pouches and finishes one in seconds flat. Do kids use pouches as comfort items and suck on them for extended periods of time? Is that what would be risky or is all eating of fruit pouches detrimental?

  2. by Laurie

    On February 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Hogwash. I use pouches when on the go and can’t stop. It’s easy for my older kids to feed the younger ones without spilling. They hold the food in their mouth no longer than if it was squeezed on a spoon and given to them that way. Which, by the way, they have, and it actually takes longer for the little ones to suck the food down, than to suck directly from the pouch. The only way this would be a problem, is if, as with bottles, you were to put them down to sleep with it, so they fall asleep with food in their mouths. Then it’s not just a problem with their teeth, but a choking hazard. I don’t believe this, and want to see the research and not just bold unproven claims.

  3. by Kelly

    On February 6, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Interesting. I assume it is that same as letting your child walk around with a sippy cup of juice always in their mouth. I think it is all about moderation. These are great for travel. Also, I find it really ironic that they suggest rinsing their mouth out with juice after. Umm, isn’t that just doing the same thing??

  4. by Fruity

    On February 6, 2013 at 6:01 am

    The last sentence of this article sucks. I think it means you should brush lo’s teeth twice a day. Also, if they drink juice or eat these evil pouches, you should have them rinse with water after.

  5. by L

    On March 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I’d like to see a 12 to 18 month rinse their mouth out with water.
    I believe that it has to do with them walking around with it sucking on it for an hour. If they eat it in seconds or minutes then it shouldn’t make a difference. No difference then eating food at the table.

  6. by nicole

    On March 5, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Wow really my almost 1 year old will only eat pouch food, she will not touch food from a jar. She is very independent and has been eating pouch food since 4 months old on her own. She has been eating more table foods as well but if she doesn’t get to eat 2 pouches a day she is grouchy. I think my baby will be fine and I’ll continue to use pouches as long as I can, plus she’ll get the extra fruits and veggies in her diet.

  7. by Maria

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I work in pre-k and have two young children of my own and I think these new pouch foods are ridiculous anyway. I think the squeezable yogurts and every other thing you can find in a pouch promotes laziness. I have three year olds in my program who can’t even use a spoon yet because all they have to do is suck their food out of plastic pouches! And to those parents who say they are easy on the go–what did you do before pouches? You probably brought dry cereal or crackers for snack that they could chew on and use their jaw muscles rather than those silly pouches, so they really are not a necessity, just a waste of money.

  8. by K

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

    The article says these pouches MAY be harmful. Clearly that is not a black and white claim. It seems to me that those who aren’t willing to consider this as a possible problem are probably parents who use these products. There’s no reason to be defensive; the article is meant to be helpful. If you are careful and watch your child’s intake of food and juices as well as their dental health, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

  9. by jessica

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Yes let’s continue blaming companies and not take responsibility for teaching our children good dental hygiene habits. My son is 10 months old and his teeth are brushed every day.

  10. by Laura

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:10 am

    This article must have been written by the non-pouch company.

  11. by Stacey

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:17 am

    My daughter loves those pouches and, quite frankly, the benefit of getting her fruit and veggies in a compact, easy-to-carry way (that she actually wants to eat) far outweighs the “risks”. She empties a pouch in a couple of minutes and then she’s on to the next thing. If she were carrying it around with her all day I’d be far more concerned about the germs and grime it would pick up than tooth decay. Just brush her teeth and give her lots of water to drink. There’s no need for all these “warnings” about every little thing!

  12. by Chelsea

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I believe it’s the sucking motion that is the problem. When you suck food it passes directly on the front teeth whereas if you were to use a spoon you open your mouth and the front teeth aren’t in direct contact with the food at all times. Same thing with sippies and bottles, the suck motion causes the drink to pass through the front teeth where if you were drinking from a cup your mouth is open. That’s just my opinion of the article though.

  13. by Joanna

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Oh, wah,wah,wah. Really? My son eats these so fast that it’s no different than my spoon feeding him. These pouches are wonderful as a convenience when we’re on the go or when he doesn’t have an appetite because he’s sick or when Daddy’s babysitting. They are not his main food intake. I can understand Maria’s concerns about not learning to use a utensil, but these aren’t meant to be the sole food of toddlers who love finger foods anyway.
    I am much more concerned about the bright, colorful top being a choking hazard. I don’t send these pouches to the church nursery with my son because I’m not sure the volunteers are diligent about disposing of them.

  14. by Casey

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Wow! Please give me a darn break! This is a pretty ridiculous scare tactic. My kid would rather eat these pouches than french fries, nuggets and pizza. Now you’re trying to tell me to worry about them? Stop it.

  15. by mom of 2

    On March 5, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I am truly mourning the loss of common sense. Have we become such a population that we are going to buy into this? As stated previously. Hogwash.

  16. by hippiemama

    On March 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Has anyone else noticed that the AAP is anti food (organic food with no added sugars) but is Pro Flouride?!?
    Which is quite out there for me, considering the flouride has worst effects on teeth than f’in food pouches!

  17. by DC

    On March 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

    This seems intended to scare parents. My children do not like sucking on these pouch foods anyway and would prefer to eat with a spoon. What parent lets their child run around all day with a pouch or bottle in their mouth? I don’t so I am not familiar with that practice.

  18. by DC

    On March 5, 2013 at 11:27 am

    My children do not like sucking on these “bad” pouches and would rather eat with a spoon. I am not familiar with letting children run around all day with a pouch or bottle in their mouth. Who does that?

  19. by JJMarcMom

    On March 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

    The pouches are pretty handy snacks esp on the go. But like its already been said, anything MAY be harmful if not given in moderation or supervised. I think the article is quite silly. My 16 month old loves the pouches but we don’t have them EVERYday nor does she suck on them for long periods of time. It’s a snack like any other snack!! Don’t allow your child to walk around sucking on the pouch for hours of course! Eat & toss…com’on people….

  20. by K

    On March 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I’m actually quite surprised to hear so many parents are feeding their children from pouches. I have never even considered it, but that’s me., and I’m not here to judge. As for the comment regarding flouride, there is ample research available proving that flouride is critical to the development of a child’s teeth.

  21. by Wyatt's Mommy

    On March 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    JJMarcMom hit the nail on the head. They are a good, healthy snack, not a pacifier.

    And to K, why is it weird the we let our kids eat food from a pouch? You haven’t considered it, maybe you should. Read the labels!

    I hate articles like this – total scare tactic. I know it says “may hurt” but that was still an attention grabber for me. They could just as well have said “Feeding your child May be harmful to their teeth.” How about, “Adults who eat May be damaging their teeth.”

    Another – c’mon – from me. Parents.com, you need to do better. This one stinks and is badly written to boot!

  22. by Rocio

    On March 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    This is ridiculous! My daughter is a picky eater. And thanks to these pouches she has being eating vegetables!! I had tried all kinds of things and she likes very few. I make her some smoothies with spinach and fruits and she loves them. But I not always have the time to blend and go. Plus my smoothies don’t look good after a while. THIS pouches were our solution. And she eats them in less than a minute!! Which I seriously think is not enouth time to harm her teeth. Not to mention she DOESN’T drink almost any juice. She prefers water. And she washes her teeth 2 times a day. So tell me how is this going to harm her teeth?? Really?

    How about US AS ADULTS sucking on soda, bottles of water and straws in EVERY RESTAURANT!!!

  23. by Darryl

    On March 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    As said before, HOGWASH!!! My daughter is 2 years old and uses a pouch, At her checkup at the dentist he said great job, no cavities!!! It makes her feel independent that she can get her own food, and as said before, it is in her mouth for a few seconds.

  24. by Jennifer

    On March 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    My kids love them, eat them, have no problems with their teeth, and get in fruits and veggies to their diets. If we stopped doing everything some study said was bad our kids wold be drinking water, eating green beans and have a very very limited view of the world. Use common sense and strive to be well rounded in all aspects of their lives and they will be fine. Let them live for goodness sakes

  25. by K

    On March 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    To Wyatt’s Mommy. I did not say letting your children eat from pouches is weird. I said I was surprised. I have never had the need for something such as this. My daughter eats regular sit down meals throughout the day and snacks very little as a result. She eats her fruits and vegetables and is learning to eat other new foods all the time. Maybe if she had eaten from a pouch earlier on, it’s something she might want. As a result of this article, I did some more research and found that there are other professionals out there who are concerned about the long-term effects of these pouches, not simply dental concerns.

  26. by S

    On March 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    To Wyatt’s Mommy: K didn’t say that she thought it was weird….just that it surprised her to see how many use the pouches. It surprises me as well! I see the pouches as expensive and not very green as the pouches aren’t recyclable, but can see how those in a hurry would go there. (This is coming from the mom who buys the huge carton of goldfish to portion out in a little dish!)

  27. by Bethany

    On March 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Ridiculous! Its something new so fear it & make parents feel bad for using it. Lame!

  28. by Dayna

    On March 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Can I just say that I have been feeding my seven month old pouches and jar food for about a month and a half to two now, and she enjoys me spoon feeding her and she loves it either way, she is picky though, and just about every other pouch she doesnt like. She really enjoys being about to feed herself with the pouch, but also loooves getting all gross from trying to grab the spoon and feed herself. :) I think if you don’t make them a regular regular thing they won’t be a problem has 2 dependents

  29. by Peggy

    On March 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    My daughter is 3 & LOVES the pouches. She eats one every morning for Breakfast, yes I said EVERY morning along w/ a cereal bar. She is a very good eater & usually eats all her fruits & veggies. But at times she doesn’t want to eat her veggies, this way I know she is getting them. She sucks it down so fast, then eats her cereal bar right after & drinks her orange juice. I don’t think it will hurt her in any way. I’m GLAD they make these pouches, I buy only the organic ones. It is sometimes hard to find all the organic vegetables that I need for the wk in the grocery store. I’m w/ hippiemama on the flouride. We use non flouride toothpaste, not good for ya & we don’t want it. City water has flouride & chlorine, you won’t be catching me giving that to my children. I’ve got 2 different nutritionist that I go to & they will both tell you not to give flouride to children. All you moms out there who say “These are bad & don’t feed them to your kids”, do you use a microwave??? Talk about BAD

  30. by Marklar

    On March 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    The title to this article is misleading.
    Why not simply say ” Sugar is bad for teeth.” ?

    The pouches are harmless.

    If the intent was to promote a “fear-based” parental read, then your mission was accomplished in any case, my opinion of PARENTS as a serious source of info is lower than it was before.

  31. by christina

    On March 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    those pouches totally promote laziness. so now kids are eating manufactured meals in pouches that they can just squeeze into their mouths?? how about actually cooking a healthy meal for them, taking a minute to sit down and eat with the rest of the family??

    i can understand for an occasional on the go snack if you didn’t happen to pack a lunch before heading out, but for people that say it’s the only thing their kids will eat, or the only way they will eat veggies, etc…that seems like pure laziness to me. are you going to always let them dictate what they will and won’t eat?

  32. by David

    On March 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    So, correct me if I’m wrong, and others may have pointed this out, but doesn’t the spout of a sippy or a squeezable food pouch sit between the front teeth and enter the mouth directly? Doesn’t it seem as if this is actually a safer method of eating as it bypasses the teeth almost completely? Am I missing something? I know all our sippys bear bite marks. Did I miss the instructions which state to make sure the sippy or pouch spout doesn’t enter between the teeth? Lips only? I can see being concerned about them walking around carrying the cup/pouch with their teeth, as my toddles have been want to do, but…something about this doesn’t make sense to me.

  33. by lisa pitts

    On March 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Wonderful for travelling………never thought to use as sucking it out of pouch directly but to just squeeze onto a spoon & feed

  34. by Jenna

    On March 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Everything in moderation. There are plenty of snack options; they don’t need to pouch feed everyday. Save them for on-the-go snacks. And shouldn’t they be sitting to eat messy foods? Maybe that’s just me ;)

  35. by Kristy

    On March 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Wow! I feel that this is just another scare tactic. My son will get these once in awhile when I find them on sale.For who said they were expensive,where are you buying them? I usually get mine 2 for a dollar with a coupon. That is a reasonable price if not actually a little cheaper. These pouches actually taught my son how to drink from a straw. He puts the whole tip in his mouth so it’s not going directly against the teeth. How is that more damaging to the teeth than actually eating? He doesn’t get them enough for me to be worried regardless.

  36. [...] you would like to read the article in full click here:  http://www.parents.com/blogs/parents-news-now/2013/02/04/must-read/squeezable-baby-food-pouches-may-… This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged AAPD, baby food, baby teeth, brush teeth, [...]