It’s no secret that milk helps build strong bones. But what about your teeth? Believe it or not, this old saying is truer than you might think. The pediatric dentists at Stellar Kids Dentistry want your family to maintain the healthiest smiles possible. That’s why we have the right kids’ dentist in Everett, Mill Creek, and Mukilteo, Washington, to care for your little one’s teeth and gums.
Drinking milk is an excellent way to protect and strengthen your child’s teeth. There are many reasons milk has a positive effect on both permanent and baby teeth. Let’s dig a little deeper into why milk is good for teeth in general.
How milk affects teeth
Milk is packed with healthy nutrients that positively influence your child’s overall health. Some specifically target teeth, while others promote good overall health.
Important nutrients in milk
While milk contains a wide variety of nutrients, the most common include:
Calcium plays an essential role in bone development and strength. While teeth aren’t technically considered bones, they do share many similarities. Calcium helps strengthen the hard layer of tooth enamel that protects your child’s teeth against tooth decay (cavities), tooth erosion, chips, cracks, and other common dental concerns.
This important mineral also builds healthy bone in your little one’s jaw to reduce their risk of bone resorption, which occurs when the bone breaks down.
Vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand. Without vitamin D, your child’s body can’t properly absorb calcium. Milk is an excellent source of this essential vitamin, as are fatty fish and eggs.
Phosphorus is another mineral that helps absorb calcium. It is also involved in preserving the teeth, bones, DNA, and RNA.
Protein forms strong muscles, connective tissues, and improves bone density. Healthy protein can help build the foundation for durable teeth.
How much milk should my child drink?
Children should drink about 1-2 cups of milk a day. Some older children may even benefit from as many as 3. Whole milk is advised for most children under the age of 2. Teenagers participating in high calorie-burning sports should replenish many of their lost nutrients with around 4 cups of milk per day.
What if my child can’t drink milk?
If your child has a milk allergy, there are suitable alternatives. If possible, continue feeding your child dairy products, like yogurt or cheese. There are several dairy alternatives, as well. Soy milk has many essential nutrients. However, it isn’t as sweet as almond milk. To some children, almond milk may deliver a better taste, though it doesn’t have as much protein as soy milk.