No Use Crying Over Spilt Plant Based Milk Alternatives

8th June 2021

Whether it be for lifestyle choices, intolerance to cows’ milk or just preference; plant based milk
alternatives such as soy, oat or almond milk are gaining widespread popularity. So how might
these alternatives affect your teeth?

We all know cows’ milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, which play an important role
in the development and strength of bones and teeth. Although cows’ milk does contain sugar, it is
in the form of lactose – a type of sugar that is not considered harmful to teeth with one
caveat, and that is the timing of consumption, particularly before periods of sleep. This is unlikely
to be an issue in adults but with young children, milk given at nap time or bed time through the
night causes a continuous bathing of the teeth in milk and will cause tooth decay.

So, let’s take a look at plant based alternatives. The good news is that many of them have been
fortified with not only calcium, but vitamin D. And the possible downsides? Well, some
plant based milks can contain substances called oxalates and phytates which interact with the
calcium and make it hard for your body to absorb it, so this should be kept in mind if you
are choosing to cut out cows’ milk. The main problem is that the sugar in these alternatives are
not like lactose and they do cause decay to teeth. They can be very high in sugar content and
even ‘no added sugar’ versions of these drinks can have a surprising amount of sugar in them.

What do we recommend?

  • The go-to milk choice of dentists and many healthcare professionals is cows’ milk but the key is to restrict it to meal times only
  • If you need or choose to drink a plant based milk go for the ‘no sugar’ or ‘unsweetened’ versions. Always check the label for sugar content
  • If your plant based milk contains sugar you should limit the amount and frequency of consumption.

We are here to help

We understand there are a lot of choices out there for you and your family when it comes to diet
and your dental health, so if you have questions or need more information please don’t hesitate to
ask one of our healthcare professionals at Coppice View.


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01423 503 428

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Coppice View Dental Care
104 Kings Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 5HH