Researchers report the decrease of milk consumption, in exchange for an increase in juice and soda, means children are likely to have more cavities.
The study investigators note a trend of children drinking more soda and 100 percent juice drinks and less milk. They theorized this would lead to more cavities. The study involved nearly 700 children aged 1 through 5 years. The children's food and drink intake was recorded for three days. Dentists analyzed the children for cavities at 4 to 7 years old.
Children who drank less milk at ages 2 and 3 had more cavities. Those with cavities also drank more soda between ages 2 and 5. Children who drank fewer 100 percent juice products at age 5 were also less likely to have cavities. The researchers also report, "Low intakes of non-milk dairy foods and high adequate intake of vitamin C were associated with fewer tooth surfaces having caries experience."
Researchers say their findings support the need for guidelines for children that include: two or more servings of dairy foods daily, limiting juice to four to six ounces daily and restricting other sugary drinks to occasional use. They believe by establishing guidelines, it could decrease the number of cavities and also help lower the prevalence of obesity. They urge pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners and dieticians to discuss these guidelines with parents.