Milk is a healthy and delicious drink that has been consumed for thousands of years. It provides many essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and proteins, which are all very beneficial for healthy teeth. In addition to that, milk is low in sugars and it enhances saliva production which is essential in the natural cleaning process of teeth. Also, the vitamins and minerals that it contains play a vital role in the correct development of teeth in infants toddlers, and young children. In this article, we will highlight the benefits of milk in oral hygiene.
Milk is a natural source of many essential nutrients like calcium, proteins, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin A, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, and niacin. While all of those are essential for your overall health, the ones that stand out concerning the well-being of teeth are Calcium and Vitamin D.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body, and 99% of it is contained in teeth and bones. Calcium plays a vital role in giving enamel its strength, which is the outer layer of the tooth that protects it from erosion and decay.
Vitamin D is crucial for healthy teeth and bones, as it allows your digestive system to properly absorb calcium. Another great thing about milk is that it neutralizes the acids in your mouth and enhances saliva production, which washes away food particles and bacteria.
The amount of milk your organism needs depends on your age, gender, and overall health.
The recommended daily intake of calcium, which is mostly the reason why you should drink milk, is between 1000-1200mg. A 200 ml cup of trim milk contains around 300mg of calcium, while calcium-enriched milk can contain up to 400mg.
So based on those numbers, it's pretty easy to calculate that a recommended dose of milk for an average person is 3-4 cups of milk each day. Other dairy products like yogurt and cheese are also rich in calcium and can be a great substitute if you prefer them over milk.
If you are lactose intolerant, you should drink the yogurt instead or other lactose-free alternatives like soy milk or lactose-free milk.
While drinking milk is one of the most efficient ways to get your daily calcium needs fulfilled, there are plenty of other options out there for people who are lactose intolerant or just don't like milk.
If you are not severely lactose intolerant you can opt for other dairy products like yogurt or various kinds of cheese. One cup of yogurt has more calcium than milk (450mg per cup) and it contains various probiotics that are very beneficial to the digestive tract.
Cheese is also rich in calcium and low in lactose and since there are so many kinds to choose from, almost anyone can find a type of cheese that they will enjoy. Another great thing about cheese is that it's low in carbohydrates, and it keeps the PH levels in your mouth balanced by reducing acidity.
If you have severe lactose intolerance there are also good alternatives like soy or almond milk.
Soy milk is rich in calcium, but make sure to brush your teeth after, since it increases the acidity in your mouth which isn't good for enamel.
Almond milk is rich in vitamin E and low in calories, however, it doesn't have that much calcium.
Fish like salmon and tuna are also great sources of calcium and vitamin D, and you should consider adding them to your diet more frequently if you dislike dairy products.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, plant-based milk (except for soy milk) can't be your primary means of daily calcium intake. Tofu and various vegetables like turnips and kale are rich in calcium and vitamin D, although not as much as dairy products, so you can just scale up the portion size.
Although milk and dairy products are greatly beneficial for your teeth, you won't miraculously have impeccable teeth just by drinking milk and eating dairy by itself. In order to have the perfect smile you will still need to follow some oral care basics. like brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, using mouthwash, and visiting your dentist regularly. With all that said, go ahead and pour yourself a nice cold glass of milk and enjoy it without the fear of it ruining your pearly whites.