Drinks for healthy baby teeth

It is important to consider how the food and drinks you give your child can affect their teeth.

It’s not just what they eat and drink but when they eat and drink it.

This section tells you what you need to think about to make sure your child’s first teeth are strong and healthy.

Find out what drinks are suitable for babies and toddlers.

Healthy drinks

It is very important for babies and young children to have plenty of fluids to drink. It helps their body to function properly and prevents constipation.

New babies

Breastfeeding will benefit you and your baby for as long as you choose to continue. If you are using formula milk, continue using a whey-based milk for up to one year. See the Baby’s first drink page for more information.

Cow's milk

From the age of one, if you’re no longer breastfeeding you can give full-fat cow’s milk as a drink. Milk contains calcium, which is important for strong bones.

From one year old, full-fat, pasteurised cow's milk is suitable as the main milk drink until your child is at least two years old. Babies up to the age of two have high energy needs compared to older children and adults, and so need more fat in their diet.

Water

After six months of age tap water is the best drink to quench thirst between meals. It's a good idea to get your baby into the habit of expecting tap water as a drink, rather than sweet drinks. Give cooled boiled tap water to babies under six months of age when required.

Baby drinks

Are not recommended. Most contain sugar which can cause tooth decay.

Fruit juices

Pure unsweetened fruit juices are a good source of vitamin C but contain natural sugar which can cause decay. Fruit juices are also acidic. Acidic drinks can quickly damage your baby’s teeth.

Small amounts of pure, unsweetened fruit juice should be diluted half and half (50% juice to 50% water), or with a greater proportion of water to juice if your child is thirsty.

Juice should be restricted to mealtimes only in a free-flow cup, not a feeding bottle.

Diluting juices and fizzy drinks

Contain sugars and artificial sweeteners. It is not recommended that you give these drinks to babies or toddlers. If diluting cordials or squashes are given, remember to serve well diluted and restrict to mealtimes only.