Does Milk Cause Tooth Decay in Children? Myths and Facts

Does Milk Cause Tooth Decay in Children? Myths and Facts | Junior Smiles of Stafford

A toddler or a kid can’t live without a bottle of milk a day; that’s inarguable. Milk is a good source of calcium and fat, which provides energy and aids in growth and development. However, some parents believe that milk also contributes to the development of cavities in children.

The question remains, is milk good or bad for your child’s teeth? Is it a catalyst for cavities? Keep on reading to know more!

Benefits of Milk for Kids Teeth

Milk has a lot of calcium in it, which can help keep your teeth away from dental decay. Your child’s dental enamel is mostly made up of calcium and phosphorus, which are both minerals. Dairy or milk products are a simple way for many kids to get calcium and phosphorus into their food. In addition, the calcium and phosphorus found in cow’s milk are very easy for the body to use, so it’s good for you.

People who have acid in their mouths lose calcium and phosphorus. This is called demineralization. Fortunately, if your child’s saliva has enough of these minerals, it can often help repair the damage in a process called demineralization.

Can Milk Cause Cavities

Even though people are more aware of the dangers of sugary drinks, there is still a lot of confusion about milk and milk alternatives. Any type of milk can increase the risk of cavities, especially if it is not consumed properly. Remember, too much is bad. Your baby can develop cavities if you put them to sleep with an unfinished milk bottle. There should be no food or drink residue on a toddler’s teeth for a long period of time during sleep. High sugar-containing drinks (such as chocolate milk, strawberry milk, flavored milk) are also causes of cavities in teeth.

Extended exposure time to milk can trigger cavities. Thus, make sure that before you put your child or toddler to bed, their teeth should be cleaned and checked thoroughly. You may also visit your board-certified pediatric dentist for more information about this.

Can Non-Dairy Milk Cause Cavities

Non-dairy milk beverages such as soy, cashew, rice, macadamia nut, flax, pecan, and almond milk are all progressive. Everyone in the world has been consuming these alternative milk beverages.

How Much Milk Can Kids Drink

There is a consensus report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and American Heart Association shows how much milk your child can drink:

Child’s Age

Recommended Daily Quantities of Milk

Type of Milk

0-6 months

Not Recommended


6-12 months

Not Recommended


12-24 months

16-24 oz (2-3 cups)

Whole milk

2-3 years

Up to 2 cups

Skim (fat-free) or low-fat milk

4-5 years

Up to 2.5 cups

Skim (fat-free) or low-fat milk

Source: Healthy Beverage Consumption in Early Childhood: Recommendations from Key National Health and Nutrition Organizations: Summary of Oral Health Considerations

Note: This recommendation is only applicable to plain cow’s milk.

Also, if a child’s weight gain is excessive or if there is a family history of obesity, dyslipidemia, or other cardiovascular diseases, reduced-fat (2 percent) or low-fat (1 percent) milk may be considered in consultation with a pediatrician; the total amount of milk consumed during this age will depend on how much solid food is being eaten.

Why Choose Junior Smiles of Stafford?

Our Stafford, VA team is well-versed in working with clients of various ages and backgrounds. They’ll take the time to get to know you and your family’s requirements, and they’ll work with you to design a treatment plan that suits your schedule. Sealants and fluoride treatments are just two of the many preventative care options we provide to keep your mouth healthy.

About Us

Visiting Junior Smiles of Stafford means you’re in good hands when it comes to receiving high-quality care. Your child’s dental health improves with each visit, ensuring a brighter smile for years to come. We adhere to the ADA and AAPD’s guidelines for best practices.

Where Are We Located?

963 Garrisonville Rd #103

Stafford, VA 22556

Phone: (540) 699-2441

Fax: (540) 699-2464


Monday and Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Wednesdays and Thursdays: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Fridays and Saturdays: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM (By appointment only)

How to Book Your Kids First Appointment at Junior Smiles of Stafford

Fill out the form on our website. Within 24 hours, a member of our team will get back to you.