Is Milk Good for Your Teeth?
We hear a lot about the health benefits that nutritious foods can have on the body. “Carrots can improve your vision and spinach can strengthen your muscles!”
But what about the old saying that milk is good for your teeth? Believe it or not, this one is true! Along with a number of other drinks that are good for your teeth, milk can support your child in achieving a strong and healthy smile. That’s because milk is one of the best sources of calcium, and calcium is a key mineral that strengthens the bones and teeth.
Babies need calcium before they're even born!
Calcium is critical for a child’s development! Luckily, calcium is abundant in milk—and even luckier, most children love the taste of milk!
Drinking one cup of milk a day can provide nearly 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium. According to Kids Health, babies under six months old require 200 mg of calcium a day; babies six to eleven months old require 260 mg, and children one to three years old require 700 mg of calcium a day. One cup of milk can provide a significant amount of your child’s daily calcium intake!
Bones store 99 percent of the body’s calcium. So you can imagine how important calcium intake is for bone growth and strength—even before you’re born! The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises that expecting mothers consume between 1000 and 1300 mg of calcium per day. This is because baby's teeth begin growing during early pregnancy! Calcium plays an integral role in supporting healthy bodies, long before birth and well into the adult years.
Does milk cause tooth decay?
The short answer is no! Dairy products are loaded with minerals that can reduce tooth decay. That means more milk and cheese for you! Not only do these dairy products have calcium, but they're loaded with proteins that work together to strengthen the enamel. According to Nutrition Australia, the combination of these proteins and minerals can create a protective coating on the teeth, which can fight against harmful acids and bacteria.
There is More Than One Way to Get Calcium in Your Diet!
While there are a lot of ways to get calcium in your diet, the NIH states that dairy products are the best choice! Consuming foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and buttermilk is a great way to enrich your diet with calcium. The calcium in these products is easily absorbed by the body—and these products are also rich in Vitamin D!
Is Almond Milk Good for Your Teeth?
With so many choices of milk at the grocery store, it's helpful to know which options pack a bigger punch. Goats milk is the highest in calcium with a whopping 327 mg per cup, followed by cows milk (300 mg), rice milk (283 mg), coconut milk (41 mg) and soy milk at 19 mgs.
So what about almond milk? While this one may be a popular choice for many non-dairy milk drinkers, this option provides 0mg of calcium. Don't worry—there are still other tasty, non-dairy drinks and foods that are good for your teeth! Check out some of these healthy choices:
- Leafy Greens
- Wild Salmon
- Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
- Sugarless chewing gum
- Green and Black Teas
- Chia Seeds
- White Beans
- Sunflower Seeds and Sesame Seeds
- Sweet potatoes and Squash
Don't substitute Calcium for Oral Care — Do Both!
Remember the protective coating that calcium creates on your teeth? Though that barrier is great for additional support, it’s no substitute for oral care. Eating and drinking the recommended amount of dairy can support strong teeth, but it’s important to practice good oral hygiene to prevent decay and dental disease. Here are 5 important steps to ensuring you and your family have a healthy smile!
- Be sure to brush twice a day.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss at least once per day.
- Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash.
- Remember to schedule your regular dental checkups for professional cleanings!
It’s important to establish a healthy dental routine with your child as soon as the first tooth comes in! It is never too early, our team works with newborns and up. We accommodate children with dental anxiety and special needs, and it’s our goal to establish a comfortable environment for you and your child. Schedule your appointment to meet our amazing team today!