Milk is the key to a strong, healthy and happy child. But is there also a dark side to formula milks that parents may be overlooking? You may even have heard that some growing up formula milks may not be as healthy as they are advertised. For instance, they may contain a high amount of sugar, among other things. But fret not, we are here to help. We had a chat with paediatric dentist, Dr Amirul Effendy, to shed light on if milk is good or bad for children's teeth. Q1: What are the benefits of milk for children's teeth? As we know, milk generally has two main ingredients that are related to our teeth.\u00a0 Mainly, calcium, phosphorus, and some have vitamin D. These nutrients are important for childhood development and helps maintain healthy teeth. That's why it's essential for children to consume milk on a regular basis. Cow's milk, for instance, is what we call 'bioavailable'. This means it is easily absorbed by our body compared to other types of milk. Q2: Does milk cause tooth decay? Unfortunately, yes. Despite all its nutrients, milk also contains lactose, which is a type of sugar. Sugar is found in almost everything. Including fruit juice, syrup, and of course, milk. It\u2019s this sugar that causes tooth decay and cavities. We see this dental issue most commonly among toddlers and young children who are known for something called 'nursing bottle caries', where they will drink a bottle of milk to sleep. When this happens, your child\u2019s teeth are being exposed for longer periods of time to the sugar in the milk. As a result, the acid produced in the mouth coats the outer surface of the tooth, or enamel, causing it to weaken and erode overtime. Q3: How do you prevent nursing bottle caries? It's not easy for parents to actually detach a child from bottle feeding when they want to sleep. The main factor of nursing bottle caries is the duration of exposure. So, shortening their time with the bottle is a good step. There are a few more ways that we can use to reduce the chances of tooth decay.\u00a0 First, you can reduce the intake of sugary foods and drinks. Therefore, it\u2019s best to just stick to water or milk, with no added sugars. Because some formula milk contains added sugar. So that is not good for your child\u2019s teeth The second method is to have your child drink with a cup as soon as possible. Ideally, one year and above. Because when they drink it with the cup, they swallow it directly and this reduces the lactose residues on their teeth. The third method is to rinse their mouth after drinking milk. However, this also depends on the age of the children. For some, it can be difficult for them to do that extra step. And of course, the last will be frequent visits to the dentist and also make sure they brush their teeth properly and frequently. Q4: What is the difference between tooth decay and cavities? Tooth decay is the process that occurs before a cavity forms. When we have leftover sugar on our teeth, bacteria grow on it. The acid that this mouth bacteria produces is what weakens the outer surface of the teeth, or enamel. This eventually leads to tooth decay and cavities. Once your enamel is weakened, your teeth will slowly develop a cavity. From a small cavity to a bigger one. So, first, you get tooth decay. Then, if you don't take care of it properly, you will develop a cavity. But then, even cavities have stages because our teeth are made up of layers. When a cavity deepens, it starts exposing the second and third layers. If the cavity reaches the second layer, which is the dentine, the patient will start having issues like sensitivity or pain. When it reaches the third layer, they may experience throbbing or pain. They may not be able to sleep at night. This is how tooth cavities slowly progresses. Q5: What are the signs of tooth decay in children? The signs and symptoms of tooth decay actually varies depending on the severity of the tooth and the tooth structure. But the earliest sign that we can see is actually discolouration. Sometimes there will be white lesions on the surface or in between the tooth. We call it white lesions, yellow or even brown, but most initial one is white. Then, it will progress to yellow and brown. Once you see this discolouration, it is a sign that this tooth is actually in danger of developing a cavity. One of the common misconceptions by parents is that white teeth are a good thing. But actually, the white spots, which we call \u2018white lesions\u2019, is a sign of tooth decay. Once you see this discolouration, it\u2019s only a matter of time before we see cavities. And these cavities normally appear on the pits and fissures of the child\u2019s teeth. This means the gaps or areas between teeth. These areas are the most at risk because they\u2019re the places where food gets stuck. Thus, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. If the condition progresses, your child will start to show symptoms like bad breath, tooth or gum swelling. And if it gets worse, possibly tooth loss. We know that young children actually need to drink milk daily. Yet it can be one of the main contributors to them possibly experiencing tooth decay. Q6: What is the best milk for a child's teeth? Many parents have this dilemma when deciding to give their child milk. They know milk is healthy for their teeth, but it\u2019s also one of the contributing factors to tooth decay. However, a study showed that cow's milk is one of the least cariogenic types of food or drinks that children can consume. This means it is not likely to give your kids tooth decay. There\u2019s a difference between cow\u2019s milk and other types of milk. Formula milk, for instance, may contain added sugars. So how do parents avoid the problem of exposing their kids\u2019 teeth to milk for long periods of time? That\u2019s where education comes in. Teach your kids about dental hygiene. As a final thought, I would like to urge parents to choose their children\u2019s food and drinks wisely. Select those that are naturally free from added sugars. To protect their teeth and preserve their overall health. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vma4NVzLBd_g Choose Wisely with Farm Fresh Grow Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Farm Fresh Grow is made with 100% pure cow\u2019s milk fortified with 22 essential vitamins and minerals and jam-packed with high protein, DHA and natural calcium. This growing up milk is specially designed for children 1 to 6 years old and has no added or hidden sugars. It is free of maltodextrin, vegetable oil and calcium carbonate. Try Farm Fresh Grow today to support your child\u2019s growth and development, without damaging their pearly whites. For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!