Updated: Nov 15
Dairy alternatives like almond milk are on the rise but what are the implications for your teeth? Is it a viable milk alternative or do you still need to drink cows milk in order to keep your teeth and bones healthy? Last but not least, do dentists recommend drinking it?
Table of Contents:
What is almond milk?
Almond milk is a plant based beverage with no animal products in it. It consists purely of almonds and water. The milk is marketed towards a couple of groups of people.
Vegans. Individuals who avoid animal products in their diet.
Lactose intolerance. People who cannot have lactose in their diet due to an allergy.
Health conscious people. A lot of individuals actively seek out healthier alternative and this milk is a great choice because it is low in fat and does not contain any cholesterol.
It is definitely a lot lower in calories as well if you compare it to other types of animal milk. It sounds pretty good already doesn't it? However, we still need to explore whether it is good for your teeth or not.
Is almond milk good for your teeth?
Of course almond milk is good for your teeth because it contains a lot of calcium and vitamin D, which are both used to build and strengthen not only your teeth but your bones as well. They are also used to reverse cavities when your mouth becomes acidic. The remineralization requires calcium ions in order to work properly.
Interestingly, almonds contain about 246 mg of calcium per cup but they don't contain much Vitamin D. The Vitamin D that you see in almond milk are due to the fact that the milk is fortified. Nonetheless, due to the fortification of the milk, almond milk actually comes out ahead of regular cows milk in being good for your teeth.
Tuscan cows milk nutritional facts:
Calcium 280 mg
Vitamin D 2.5 mcg
Silk almond milk nutritional facts:
Calcium 450 mg
Vitamin D 2.5 mcg
Due to the higher calcium per cup of milk in almonds, we would rate it as being better for your teeth over regular milk. More calcium will help build stronger teeth and stronger bones. For that we give a win and a plus to almonds.
Can almond milk cause tooth decay?
Despite the oral health benefits, unfortunately almond milk can still cause tooth decay because it does have added sugar in it. It does not naturally contain sugar but sugar gets added in it to make the beverage more palatable. So yes, due to the added sugar, almond milk can rot your teeth.
Even taking into account the addition of sugar, the amount of it is still less than what is in cows milk. The almond milk has 8 g of sugar while the cows milk has 12 g of sugar. Due to the slightly lower sugar content, it is a little bit less likely to cause teeth decay when compared to milk.
Once again, this gives almond milk another edge over cows milk since it reduces the chances of cavities forming. We just want to emphasize that it reduces and does not eliminate it because it does still contain sugar.
In other words, if you drink an excessive amount of this milk you'll still end up getting cavities so please drink in moderation. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Do dentists recommend drinking it?
Our long island city dentist definitely do recommend drinking almond milk because of its calcium and vitamin D content. It is also lower in calories so it is a healthier option than traditional cow milk. That is definitely something to keep in mind if you are weight conscious as well.
The sugar content may be an issue but for concerned parents who are worried about almond milk rotting their children's teeth, they can always make their own almond milk at home. If you make your own milk, then you will be able to avoid the added sugar content!
It is actually very easy to make your own almond milk and here is a video to show you how:
For this recipe, you only need three ingredients:
Almonds. Organic almonds would be even healthier for you.
Water. Try using filtered water.
Salt. Any type of salt would work just fine for this or you can use what you have.
Hopefully that helps you in deciding whether or not almond milk is good for your teeth because to us, it definitely is. We much prefer it over regular cows milk due to the higher calcium but lower sugar content. Truth be told, quite a bit of people in this population are lactose intolerant so that actually makes it kind of the only option for some people.
Last but not least, don't forget to still go in for your 6 month dental check ups and cleanings. You want to make sure that you haven't been drinking too much of the almond milk since it does still contain sugar which means it can still cause tooth decay.
You may not be able to diagnose your own cavities which is why you need your dentist for an exam along with the dental x-rays. That is the only way to tell if your mouth and teeth are healthy. You can't just go by how you "feel".