We frequently hear about the health benefits of eating nutrient-dense foods. We’re told that eating carrots can improve our eyesight, and that eating spinach will make us big and strong. But what about milk? You’ve probably heard that drinking milk is a great way to bolster and protect the health of your teeth. Surprisingly, this old saying isn’t wrong. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, and calcium promotes strong bones and strong teeth.
Even Before They Enter World Babies Need Adequate Amounts of Calcium
Calcium is an essential mineral all throughout a child’s development. The good news is that it’s abundantly present in milk. Moreover, getting kids to drink plenty of milk isn’t all that hard.
Kids can get 300 mg of calcium by drinking just one cup of milk each day. Kids Health asserts that babies who are six months old and under need 200 mg of calcium daily, while those between six and 11 months require 260 mg. According to this same source, if you have a toddler between the ages of one and three years old, your little one will need 700 mg of calcium daily. A single cup of milk can make a huge contribution towards your child’s daily calcium requirement.
99 percent of the body’s calcium gets stored in the bones. This just goes to show how important this mineral is for bone development and strength, even before a child enters the world. Expecting mothers are advised by the National Institute of Health to get 1000 to 1300 mg of calcium daily. Even during the formative stages of pregnancy, a baby’s teeth are already forming. Calcium plays a very vital part in promoting overall health long before kids are born and all throughout their lives.
Can Drinking Milk Lead to Tooth Decay?
No, drinking milk doesn’t lead to tooth decay. This healthy beverage is rich with minerals that help prevent tooth decay. This means that loading up on cheese, milk, and other dairy products is a good thing. Not only are these foods loaded with calcium, but they also contain enamel-building proteins. Nutrition Australia says that together, these minerals and proteins help the body form a protective tooth coating that guards against decay-causing bacteria and acids.
There Are Lots of Ways to Help Your Child Get More Calcium
Even though there are a number of calcium-containing foods that kids can enjoy, according to the National Institute of Health, dairy products are best. Foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese provide ample amounts of calcium. Moreover, the calcium they contain is bioavailable and easy for the body to absorb. These foods also contain a significant amount of Vitamin D.
Will Almond Milk Benefit a Child’s Teeth?
As you scan the seemingly limitless options in your local grocery store, you’ll want to know which products are going to provide the greatest range of benefits. Kids can get the most calcium from goat milk which provides 327 mg in a single serving. Milk from cows offers 300 mg, coconut milk provide just 41 mg, and rice milk provide 283 mg. Soy milk only has 19 mgs.
And almond milk? Even though this is a popular alternative to cow’s milk for those who prefer non-dairy options, it has absolutely no calcium to offer. Luckily, there’s still a variety of non-dairy beverages and foods that can benefit your child’s teeth. These include:
- Wild-caught salmon
- Dark, leafy greens
- Black and green tea
- Chia seeds
- Sesame and sunflower seeds
- Squash and sweet potatoes
Good Oral Hygiene is Still Important With a Calcium-Rich Diet
Remember that protective barrier that calcium provides by coating your teeth? This barrier is an excellent form of additional protection, but it cannot substitute for good oral hygiene. You can support strong teeth by encouraging your child to maintain a healthy, calcium-rich diet, but brushing and flossing remain essential for avoiding gum disease and tooth decay.
Following are several steps that everyone in the family can use to keep their smiles healthy!
- Brush at least two times per day.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
- Floss the teeth at least once per day.
- Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
- Schedule routine dental checkups and receive professional cleanings.
Establishing a good dental hygiene plan is important to do as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. There’s never a bad time to get started. Our team at Greater Houston Pediatric Dentistry can work with newborns, toddlers, and more. We’re experienced in dealing with special needs and dental anxiety. More importantly, we strive to maintain a relaxing, comfortable environment that our patients can enjoy. Schedule a consultation appointment today to meet our team and learn more about our approach to your child’s dental care.