When you think of strong teeth and bones, you probably think of milk. But is milk good for your teeth, or is there any way to harm them?
As more and more people opt for a plant-based diet, vegan alternatives to milk (with similar nutritional profiles) are in high demand.but vegan diet It’s more accessible than ever, and many vegetarian staples, like tempeh, are high in calcium, meaning you don’t have to rely on milk for your daily dose.
We talk to experts about how milk affects dental health and round up their best oral care tips for a healthy, happy mouth.If you want to upgrade your oral hygiene habits, our oral hygiene guide The best electric toothbrush There are also a variety of options to suit different consumers.
How does milk affect dental health?
Milk is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus, minerals the body uses to maintain bones and teeth. They are also used for muscle contraction (including your heartbeat) and normal blood clotting. Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the human body, 98% of which is stored in our bones, where our bodies use it as a reservoir to continually reshape our bones throughout our lives. For good dental health, you need to make sure you’re getting enough calcium each day to replenish this reservoir, as this is what your body uses to make enamel and dentin.
Dentist Dr. Sunita De Zoysa explains that milk is rich in minerals that help promote healthy teeth. “Milk contains a variety of useful minerals, vitamins and proteins, making it a great drink for your health and teeth,” she says. “Milk also contains casein, which forms a protective film on the surface of the teeth and acts to prevent cavities. It also contains vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium and phosphorus from the diet and helps by helping the immune system and reducing inflammation of the gums Repair damaged dentin and fight gum disease.”
In addition to being rich in calcium, milk is also rich in a sugar called lactose (which some people cannot digest). If consumed at bedtime and without brushing, these sugars can act like any other sugar and lead to the development of cavities. The bacteria in our mouths love sugar, and over time, they produce acids that dissolve tooth enamel, which is why brushing before bed is recommended.
Dr. Tarun Nagpal enlightenment (opens in new tab)-Reviewed dentist, explaining that calcium is important for growing children. “Milk is an important source of calcium, which is essential for the growth and development of teeth and bones during infancy,” he said. “When we are adults and our teeth are fully formed, the benefits of milk become more superficial and not a necessity.”
De Zoysa also said that milk can be used as a beverage to protect tooth enamel if consumed after meals. “The most important thing about milk is that it helps neutralize acid or sugar attacks, so it’s a beneficial drink to drink after a meal or snack,” she says. “As a dairy product, it also stimulates the production of saliva, and thanks to its composition, has antibacterial properties and neutralizing abilities that help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.”
Do you need to drink milk for calcium?
While milk is the best-known source of calcium, many foods are rich in the mineral. Some, such as meat substitutes and dairy-free milk, have added calcium; oat milk and coconut milk A good plant-based alternative to milk.
Some dairy-free calcium sources include:
- Fish – Oily fish, especially those that eat bones, are a good source of calcium. Sardines (on the bone) have 382 mg per 100 g, salmon 26 mg per 100 g, and mackerel 12 mg per 100 g.
- Plant milks – often fortified with calcium as they are used as a milk substitute.Unsweetened almond milk has 120 mg of calcium per 100 ml, oat milk has 130 mg per 100 g, and soy milk 101 mg per 100 g.
- Vegetables – Leafy green vegetables are rich in calcium. 100 grams of kale contains 254 mg, beet leaves contain 117 mg per 100 grams, and broccoli contains 46 mg per 100 grams.
- Meat substitutes – tempeh contains 111 mg per 100 grams and silken tofu contains 36 mg per 100 grams.
Milk is considered a good tooth drink because of the bioavailability of the calcium it contains, says De Zoysa. “Milk, like other dairy products, is a simple source of calcium, which is easily absorbed by the body,” she said. “Other dairy products, such as milk and cheese, also contain easily absorbed calcium. Low-fat dairy products generally contain similar levels of calcium.”
She added: “If you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, there are other sources of calcium, including calcium-fortified beverages and foods (e.g. soy milk, almond milk, cereals), dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. kale, spinach) and Soybeans.”
Oral Care Tips
Dr. De Zoysa gives LiveScience her best advice oral hygiene:
- Reduce your intake of sugary and acidic foods and beverages to no more than four times a day and limit them to mealtimes.
- Don’t brush your teeth right after meals, as acids and sugars can soften your teeth. Use sugar-free gum and drink water and milk instead of carbonated beverages. Keep in mind that “no added sugar” beverages still contain natural sugar and still count as a form of acid or sugar attack.
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, one last thing at night, and another. Spit it out after brushing, do not rinse with water, as this will retain fluoride on your teeth.
- Use interdental aids such as dental floss and interdental brushes to clean between your teeth every day.
- Using a fluoride mouthwash at different times of the day may help, as your toothpaste will contain more fluoride than a mouthwash.