Do the Sugars in Milk Hurt Your Teeth as Much as Other Sugars Do?
Posted on 8/20/2016 by Brandon Cooley
You've heard it all before. Sugar is bad for your teeth. It can cause cavities and tooth decay. You have probably been warned many times to stay away from eating too much candy, as it is chock full of sugar.
But there is sugar in other things, such as milk. Milk has long been touted to be good for your teeth, so does the sugar in it really hurt your teeth as much as other sugars?
Benefit of Milk For years, doctors and dentists have said that drinking milk is beneficial to the health of your mouth. It provides calcium and other minerals that are essential for healthy bones and teeth.
Sugar Causes Decay
Milk, despite helping your teeth stay strong, contains lactose, which is sugar. It is still broken down by bacteria in the same way that it breaks down fructose and glucose.
As the sugar is broken down, acid is produced that causes your teeth to decay. This is why it is recommended that you don't let young children sleep with bottles. Milk can pool in their mouths, creating a feasting ground for bacteria and leading to significant dental problems.
Is Lactose Different?
While all sugar causes decay, glucose, which is often used as an additive for snacks and candies, is the quickest offender. When it breaks down, it creates a compound that sticks more easily to your teeth, allowing for acids to do faster damage. When lactose is broken down, it creates a smaller amount of acid. So it doesn't work as fast to cause decay, but it is still very capable.
Practice Proper Oral Hygiene
The best way to avoid damage from any sugar is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and regularly visiting your dentist. In doing so, you can clean your mouth of lingering sugars and the bacteria that feed upon them, protecting your teeth from harm.
Milk is said to be essential for strong teeth and bones. While the sugar in it may not cause damage as quickly as other sugar, the bottom line is lactose is still sugar and can still damage your teeth. Proper hygiene can help protect them from harm.