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Drinks for young children: the dental and nutritional benefits of milk

Anita Wells (Anita Wells is a Nutrition Manager at the National Dairy Council, London, UK.)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 1 April 2000



Tooth decay is a serious problem in young children. In the UK nearly half of all five‐year‐olds have decayed, missing or filled teeth. Non‐milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) provide young children with about 19 per cent of their food energy, almost double the recommended amount. One of the main sources of NMES is non‐diet soft drinks such as fruit squashes and carbonated beverages. Dental experts recommend that sugary food and drinks should be limited to meal times and that non‐cariogenic drinks such as milk and water should be consumed between meals. However, milk does not just benefit young children’s teeth; unlike soft drinks, it also plays a pivotal role in ensuring that young children consume a nutritionally adequate diet. Children aged 3 and a half ‐4 and a half years obtain at least one‐fifth of their total intake of protein, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and iodine from milk. The only nutrient that is supplied to a greater extent from other beverages is vitamin C.



Wells, A. (2000), "Drinks for young children: the dental and nutritional benefits of milk", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 76-80.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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