Is Milk Good for Teeth?
You’ve probably heard that drinking milk will help you build strong bones, but how does milk help teeth stay healthy? Drinks that are good for your teeth definitely include healthy types of milk, which offer many dietary advantages. Milk provides the nutrients that aid in your teeth’ growth and maintenance.
Read how to make teeth stronger by enjoying the benefits of milk below.
Is Dairy Milk Good for Your Teeth?
If you want to know how to get stronger teeth, drinking dairy milk every day is one of your best options. Dairy milk comes from an animal source, the most common being cows and goats. Below are several reasons that regular consumption of dairy helps prevent tooth decay:
- The casein proteins in dairy form a coating over the teeth, protecting them from decay.
- The calcium present in milk is a component in building strong bones and helping repair damage to bone tissues.
- The neutral pH of milk helps control bacteria.
- The phosphorus in milk helps maintain tooth enamel.
- Milk stimulates saliva, which digests starches.
Although dairy milk is good for your teeth, you should avoid drinking a glass before bed without brushing after. The lactose in milk is a form of sugar, which promotes cavities when it is left to sit on your teeth. In addition, milk sours if it’s left out, and the additional acidity is bad for your teeth and the rest of your digestive system. Falling asleep with a glass of water by your bedside is a much better option for healthy teeth.
Advantages of Dairy Milk
Does milk help teeth? While the answer is yes, dairy milk has distinct advantages from other kinds of milk. Below are some of dairy milk’s best qualities:
- Affordable: Regular dairy milk is typically less expensive than milk alternatives and could be more accessible in your local grocery store.
- Allergy-free for some: Dairy is the safest kind of milk for people who can tolerate lactose but are allergic to nuts and soy.
- Vitamin-rich: Milk from animal sources is packed with calcium and vitamin D.
Although dairy milk is great for your teeth, it also contains fat and cholesterol. Dairy is also higher in calories than some alternatives.
Are Milk Alternatives Good For Teeth?
Milk alternatives range from plant-based milk products to dairy milk with alterations for lactose intolerance. Some milk alternatives are very similar to dairy or have been fortified to contain the same vitamins and minerals. Other milk alternatives are higher in sugar, with less overall nutrition than dairy. When looking for a healthy milk alternative, read the product labels to make sure the sugar content is lower or about the same as regular milk.
Below is more detailed information about the benefits of common milk alternatives that you can find at your local grocer:
Almonds are one of the most popular nuts to make milk from. This alternative is good for teeth when it is a low-sugar product with fortified calcium. Almonds have some health advantages, but calcium has to be added to make them as valuable for your dental health as regular milk.
Some features of almond milk include:
- Almonds are a very good source of natural magnesium, potassium and vitamin E.
- Unsweetened almond milk is low on the glycemic index, making it suitable for diabetics.
- Almond milk without sweetening additives is lower in carbs than dairy milk.
- It has no cholesterol and much less fat than dairy milk.
- It has a much smaller amount of protein than dairy milk, but some brands are fortified with pea protein.
You might start drinking soy milk for dietary reasons since it’s lower in calories than dairy milk and is better for heart disease patients. Is soy milk as good for your teeth as it is for your heart? The effects of soy milk on teeth have been researched to be slightly worse in terms of enamel erosion, but more research needs to be conducted for definitive results. The answer depends on your brand of soy milk, but soy’s lower level of calcium is what has been attributed to its lack of enamel protection.
Below are some beneficial features of soy:
- It has less fat than cow’s milk.
- It contains some calcium and vitamin D naturally.
- It has almost as much protein as dairy milk.
Oat milk is favored by consumers with severe food allergies and lactose intolerance or those who have other reasons for needing an alternative to dairy. Brands that you would find in the baking aisle tend to be watery in consistency, making them appealing for replacing dairy in baked goods but less appetizing in your breakfast cereal. Chilled oat milk in the dairy aisle is creamier, but it might be higher in sugar than regular milk, which is why it’s important to check. Oat milk is sweetened mainly to enhance its flavor, which tastes easily distinguishable from dairy milk.
Oat milk has the following characteristics:
- Oats are naturally high in B vitamins and minerals like phosphorus and manganese.
- Oats are naturally low in calcium, and oat milk will contain less calcium unless fortified.
- Without added sugar, oat milk has more calories and carbohydrates than dairy milk, setting it apart from other milk alternatives.
Is Calcium Good for Teeth?
If you have been drinking a milk alternative, you might be concerned about how your calcium intake affects your smile. Calcium has many health benefits for teeth, like aiding in the enamel repair process to keep your teeth harder than any bone in your body. Why are teeth stronger than bones? The stored calcium is actually what makes your teeth stronger. In fact, the enamel around the outer layer of your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body.
One way to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrition on a dairy-free diet is to consume plenty of calcium-rich foods. Food sources packed with calcium include:
- Fish: Salmon and canned tuna are great sources of calcium and a host of other vitamins and minerals.
- Eggs: Another animal source of fat and protein, eggs also have B vitamins.
- Cheese: If you can have some dairy, many kinds of cheese are made with milk as the primary ingredient, and others are made from nuts or soy.
- Yogurt: Topped with fruit and nuts, a dairy-free yogurt for breakfast makes a fine replacement for a glass of milk.
- Leafy greens: You can hide kale and spinach in smoothies.
With too little calcium in your diet, your body will start to absorb this mineral directly from your bones and teeth, and your calcium storage gradually becomes depleted as a result. You can always increase your daily calcium intake by taking supplements or eating healthy, fortified foods.
Care for Your Teeth With Family Dentistry of New Jersey
While diet is important for maintaining a healthy mouth, so is taking care of your teeth. You can prevent cavities by brushing every day and seeing your dentist for regular appointments. At FDNJ, we provide dental cleaning services and routine exams. Contact us to learn more or request an appointment online.