Could Milk Actually be Bad for Children’s Teeth?

Drinking MilkFor many years, the consumption of milk was considered to be good for the health. Breast milk is especially good for developing children, contributing to healthy bone growth and strong teeth. When children make the switch to dairy, milk is still a good source of calcium and other nutrients.

Nevertheless, as with all things, having too much of a good thing may have repercussions. In the case of milk, it may contribute to the development of cavities. Dental practices like always talk about the importance of limiting sugar and coming in for a regular appointment with the dental hygienist. This is especially true if your child regularly drinks milk, which is high in sugar.

Yes, Milk Contains Sugar

The problem: milk is surprisingly high in sugar. Whenever someone drinks milk, they bathe their teeth in a mixture of dissolved sugars. Lactose, one of the primary nutrients found in milk, is a type of sugar, though it is naturally occurring.

On top of the natural sugars found in milk, many dairy companies add refined sugar to their products in order to make the flavour more palatable. This is especially true for skimmed and low-fat milk, which may contain as much as 13 grammes of sugar for every cup.

The bacteria that form cavities thrive on sugary foods. The consumption of milk greatly increases the amount of sugar that your teeth are exposed to, allowing the cavities to take hold.

Milk and Bad Snacking Habits

The lactose in milk is not the only thing that contributes to poor oral health. Those who drink milk will often pair it with bad snacking habits as well. For example, a popular bedtime habit is to drink one glass of milk before sleeping. It is supposed to help children sleep better.

This is a bad habit, as you will end up bathing the mouth in sugars just before resting. If the child does not brush his teeth thoroughly afterwards, the milk will leave a residue inside the mouth that will stay there until morning.

Milk is healthy and has many nutritional benefits. It is important, however, to limit its consumption and to pair it with healthier snacking habits.

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