When you choose the right milk for your family, you certainly have many options to pick from these days. You can choose from milk made from coconuts to milk made from almonds and soy milk to cow’s milk. Yes, the dairy aisle is packed with so many different milk varieties.

In today’s health-conscious world, the word “soy” receives mixed reviews. Many experts praise soy for its numerous health benefits. Probably because it is an alternative to such foods as meat and milk. In comparison, others consider it useless, if not downright harmful. 

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We all know that soy milk is a well-known dairy milk replacement. But note that it is not just a substitute ingredient. Soy milk could be a worthwhile addition to your diet. This flavorful, healthy beverage first came about as a waste product in preparing tofu. Today, soy milk can be found around the world as a lactose-free dairy substitute with health benefits.

Here we take a closer look at how two of the most popular forms of milk, cow’s and soy milk, can affect your teeth.

Soy Milk and Oral Health

You might have heard – many people have turned away from drinking cow’s milk. Probably in favor of plant-based alternatives like soy milk. 

Indeed, soy milk can undoubtedly help reduce caloric intake. It has only 80-100 calories per cup and packs just as much of a protein punch as cow’s milk. 

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However, soy milk might not be as beneficial to your teeth and might even harm them. But how can that be? Does soy milk not have calcium and vitamin D, which make cow’s milk so great for your teeth? 

Even if soy milk does contain these vitamins and minerals, there is less of it than cow’s milk. Additionally, research suggests that once you drink soy milk, mouth bacteria produce five to six times more acid than drinking cow’s milk. 

This is concerning, and dentists see more acid means more damage to your protective tooth enamel. Reduced protection over a while means more risk for tooth decay and cavities. 

But that is not always the case, many brands of soy milk today also contain added sugars, and as everyone knows, sugar is no friend of teeth. As always, you need to recognize that more research is required to entirely understand the effects of soy milk on your teeth. But it is an excellent place to start as the milk has other health benefits.

How can you know which is better? How can you possibly choose? Do not worry. Believe it or not, your dentist can help you select the right milk for your family. 

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Soy milk still contains vitamin D and calcium but in significantly lower amounts. But that is not all. One study confirmed that bacteria commonly found in the human mouth produced five to six times more acid when you drink soy milk than cow’s milk.  

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In simple terms, an increase in acid in your mouth means increased enamel erosion. Increasing the risk of decay and tooth cavities. This was one study, but more research is needed to suggest a strong correlation between cavities and soy milk. The seeds come from the legume know a soy bean, very similar to sweet pea.

However, a new study already suggests that soy milk might be more harmful than cow’s milk to your teeth. However, more research is required in this area, as researchers need to explore and confirm what it may mean for soy milk consumers.

Cow’s Milk

On the other hand, cow’s milk has a range of health benefits. It is the tried-and-true milk choice of dentists and many healthcare professionals today. It is good old-fashioned cow’s milk and for a good reason. 

Cow’s milk is packed with two of the essential ingredients that human teeth need to stay strong and healthy. It is the combination of calcium and vitamin D. This powerful duo is vital for replenishing minerals in the teeth. 

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You might know that tooth enamel weakens when acids and its otherwise outside protection attack diminishes. It will leave your teeth at an increased risk of infection, decay, and cavities in such a scenario. 

To help remineralize tooth enamel, you need to supply your body with calcium and vitamin D. AS you know, cow’s milk is an excellent source of these two minerals.

Is Soy Milk Giving You Cavities?

If you have recently switched from regular milk to a soy variety, you might have done so for the perceived health benefits or as part of a new diet. However, have you tried to understand and fully consider how soy milk could impact your oral health? A recent study has shown that soy milk could be worse for your teeth than cow’s milk.

The results indicate that bacteria commonly found in the mouth generally produce 5-6 times more acid when they feed on soy milk than cow’s milk.

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As you might be aware, mouth acids result in plaque formation that might eventually lead to tooth decay. It means that cow’s milk is more likely to lead to dental cavities and other oral health concerns.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne examined four soy beverages and two cow’s milk beverages during their experiments. These drinks were mixed with a specific type of bacteria commonly found in the human mouth and were associated with cavities.

They deduced that the drinks became more acidic within ten minutes of adding the bacteria with the soy beverages. However, the beverages containing only cow’s milk did not significantly change acidity when the bacteria were added.

However, it should be noted that this study was completed in a lab. Therefore, researchers needed to understand the effects of soy milk on oral health fully. Moreover, the cavity risk of soy milk also depends on how you use the beverage. Note that one glass of milk is not likely to cause any significant damage to your teeth.

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Therefore, allowing your baby to nurse on a bottle of soy milk before bed – might be a matter of concern. Probably because cow’s milk is less likely to promote the development of cavities.

Soy Milk – A Few Exceptions

It is indeed true that the benefits of cow’s milk can undoubtedly help build strong, healthy bones and teeth. Some people can not drink it due to lactose intolerance. Those people who are lactose intolerant might have trouble digesting lactose. Lactose occurs naturally in cow’s milk and other dairy products. 

Instead of cow’s milk, people with lactose intolerance should try choosing a type of milk that is easier to digest. They may select calcium-fortified coconut or almond milk.

Other exceptions to choosing an alternative to cow’s milk might be for moral, religious, or dietary reasons. In all these cases, it is essential to talk to your dentist. Your dentist would recommend using other foods such as seeds, nuts, fish, and vegetables to supplement their calcium intake. 

Production of Acid in Your Mouth

We all know that bacteria constantly form in our mouth and accumulate into a biofilm known as plaque or tartar, which coats your entire mouth. The bacteria is a mix of both helpful and harmful microbes. Our body’s natural defenses like saliva and tooth enamel in a healthy mouth can control the bacterial population. 

When you eat or drink, these bacteria metabolize sugars and carbs in your mouth. As a result, these bacteria excrete lactic acid on the surface of your teeth. Acids usually weaken your enamel and sap minerals from your tooth, so your enamel cannot regain its strength.  

Over a period, when the enamel is sufficiently weakened, these bacteria get access to the interior of your tooth. They then start causing decay and severe sensitivity. 

Cow’s milk contains high volumes of phosphate and calcium, the same minerals your enamel is made of. Hence these acids harm your teeth. 

When you drink milk, you can assist your enamel in remineralization, thus providing a source of much-needed calcium and phosphate. Cow’s milk, as you know, has the added benefit of neutralizing acids. Therefore, lessening their attack on your teeth.

Soy Milk’s Performance

A team of researchers decided to test soy milk’s benefit to oral health. They mixed soy milk with bacteria Streptococcus mutant – the primary bacteria that cause tooth decay. Then they were able to observe soy milk’s performance against the tooth’s enemy. 

They discovered that the soy milk became significantly more acidic within less than ten minutes of contact with the bacteria in your mouth. Cow’s milk did not. But this is by no means a definitive answer to soybeans’ effect on oral health. But it raises enough questions to wonder; and perform further tests on the topic.


Though diet plays a vital role in oral health, it is still incredibly important that you and your family see your dentist every six months. These dental checkups would allow your dentist to ensure that no tiny problems linger in your mouth, waiting to cause a more significant, potentially painful problem. 

During these checkups, your dentist would get a chance to clean your pearly whites thoroughly. If you have not visited your dentist longer than six months since your last dental visit, call to schedule an appointment today.