Growing up, we’re all told to drink our milk because it will help us grow up big and strong. The nutrients in milk, particularly calcium, also benefit our teeth. The National Institutes of Health recommends that we consume 1,000 mg to 1,300 mg of calcium, depending on age and gender.
While you can reach the recommend daily amount of calcium without consuming dairy products, they tend to be higher in calcium than their non-dairy foods. One cup of milk provides about 300 mg of calcium. Yogurt and cheese are also high in calcium.
If you are lactose intolerant or don’t consume dairy for other reasons, you can get the recommended amount of calcium in other foods. Sardines, soy milk, calcium-fortified orange juice, tofu, kale, and broccoli are all non-dairy sources of calcium that will help you consume the National Institutes of Health’s Recommended Dietary Allowances for calcium.
For those who do eat and drink dairy products, milk’s high calcium content is not the only reason it is beneficial. Other nutrients in milk work with calcium to maintain healthy teeth. Vitamin D helps teeth better absorb calcium, while vitamin A assists in the formation of keratin, a protein found in tooth enamel.
The American Dental Association suggests that, based on a study performed at the University of Illinois at Chicago and published in the July 2017 issue of “The Journal of the American Dental Association,” milk may also protect a patient’s teeth if consumed after eating sugary food because it reduces the level of acid in a patient’s mouth. However, more research needs to be done. This finding is not permission to eat a lot of sugary foods because milk will reverse the damage. That’s not the case. It’s simply helping us better understand the role milk and sugary foods play in our dental health when consumed together.
If you have any questions on how what we eat affects our dental health, please call Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts. Dr. Makrauer and Dr. Miller will be happy to answer your questions on maintaining good dental hygiene.