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Plant-based milks: the dental perspective


Background Consumption of plant-based milk in the UK is increasing at the expense of cow's milk. Cow's milk consumption has traditionally been advocated by the dental profession as 'good for teeth'.

Aims To identify the range of plant-based milks available in the UK and compare their nutritional benefits with cow's milk. A secondary aim was to explore reasons behind the increase in popularity of plant-based milks and discuss dental relevance.

Methods Branded plant-based milks available in UK supermarkets were identified and nutritional data collected. Data were obtained from product labelling and manufacturer websites. The sample was collected in December 2019.

Results Eighty-two products were identified. Differences were observed between plant-based and cow's milk, in particular regarding calcium, iodine, vitamin B12 and sugar content. Sugar content varied from 0-7.6 g/100 ml.

Conclusions Dairy is a key source of dietary iodine and many plant-based milks contain much lower levels. Many plant-based milks contain free sugars which are cariogenic. Dentists should be aware of this emerging market and be able to advise patients accordingly.

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Correspondence to Oliver Sumner.

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Sumner, O., Burbridge, L. Plant-based milks: the dental perspective. Br Dent J (2020).

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