Avoid Making These Milk-Related Mistakes That Could Harm Your Child's Dental Health

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Milk is a staple in the diets of many children, and lots of parents are quick to emphasize the value of the nutritional content — namely, the calcium — of this beverage. While it's true that drinking milk offers some health benefits, it's also important to remember that milk is sweet. Granted, the sugar in milk occurs naturally, but any type of sugar on your child's teeth can increase his or her risk of cavities. Your child's pediatric dentist will likely recommend that the child consumes milk regularly but may also caution you to avoid making the following milk-related mistakes.

Serving It At Every Meal

It's incorrect to view milk as the child's lone source of calcium. Many other products — including dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, as well as a variety of green vegetables — are high in calcium. Serving your child milk at every meal dramatically increases his or her intake of sugar, which may heighten the risk of cavities.

One cup of two percent milk contains around 11 grams of sugar. This means that if you're giving your child a cup of milk three times a day, he or she is getting more than 30 grams of sugar from milk alone. Over time, this may contribute to calories.

Assuming That Chocolate Milk Is Fine

There are parents who want to give their children milk, but some kids are picky when it comes to this beverage. Such parents may have better luck with chocolate milk and may tell themselves that chocolate milk is better than no milk at all.

The problem is that chocolate milk contains double the sugar of regular milk. One cup of one percent chocolate milk contains about 25 grams of sugar, and given that many children don't stop at just one cup of chocolate milk, the effect that this regular consumption of sugar can have on the child's teeth is considerable.

Giving Milk Right Before Bed

Some parents recall having warm milk as a pre-bedtime beverage and may follow a similar path with their own children. While this drink can be comforting, it's a problem if you give the child milk after brushing his or her teeth.

In this scenario, the sugary milk will coat the child's teeth and remain there for much of the night. It can begin to eat away at the tooth enamel, while also creating bacteria around the gums, and thus be concerning for the child's overall dental health. If you wish to serve your child milk before bed, do so before brushing the child's teeth.

For more information about taking care of your child's teeth, contact a dental office for guidance.