When you were growing up, you were told that you needed to drink plenty of milk so that you would grow to be big and strong. There is definitely some truth behind this. Milk contains a lot of necessary vitamins and minerals needed for strong bones and teeth. You put it in your cereal, use it to bake, and might even have a glass with dinner, but which type is best? Cow’s milk? Almond milk? Goat’s milk? Continue reading to learn which one is most beneficial for your oral health.
Plant vs. Animal-Based Milk – Which Is Best?
When you go to the grocery store, you see that there are a wide variety of milks to choose from. Many people have decided to switch to plant-based milks for one reason or another, but how does this affect your smile differently?
- Animal-Based Milk: Cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and other animal-based milk contain protein, calcium, riboflavin, and potassium. A lot of the time, it is also fortified with vitamin D, a necessary vitamin to help the body absorb calcium.
- Plant-Based Milk: For plant-based milks, their nutritional value depends on how the milk was produced. Some plant-based milks are not high in protein. The closest plant-based milk that you can find to cow’s milk is calcium-fortified soy milk. However, this is still contains fewer nutrients than cow’s milk. If you are looking for a plant-based milk, check the nutritional label so you can make the best choice for your smile.
How Is Dairy Beneficial for Your Oral Health?
Milk and other dairy products are great for your teeth. Here are just some of the numerous benefits:
- Contain Casein Proteins: These form a protective film on the surface of your teeth. This helps to keep your enamel safe from decay.
- Rich in Calcium and Phosphorus: Both of these minerals are necessary to repair damage to your teeth. They help prevent the acid in food and beverages from hurting your enamel.
- Neutral pH: Milk helps to neutralize acidic and sugary foods and drinks.
- Stimulate Saliva Production: Saliva helps to maintain and repair your teeth. It also helps to wash away food debris and harmful bacteria.
What If You Can’t Drink Animal Milk?
Lactose intolerance is very common in many places throughout the world. Lactose is the sugar that is naturally occurring in animal milk and other dairy products. If you aren’t able to digest lactose, drinking dairy milk obviously isn’t the best idea. For other people, avoiding animal milk is a personal choice. Either way, look for a calcium fortified coconut or almond milk to ensure that you are still getting the calcium you need for a healthy smile.
You want to keep your teeth healthy, and the foods and drinks you consume make a huge difference. Instead of having a can of soda, try enjoying a glass of milk. Your smile will reap the benefits!
About the Author
Dr. Letitia Plummer is an experienced dentist who has been working in the field for more than two decades. She earned her dental doctorate from the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. Currently, she is a proud member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, Texas Association of Woman Dentists, and the Greater Houston Dental Society. For more ways to keep your smile healthy or to schedule an appointment at her office in Pearland, visit her website or call (713) 436-2522.