Baby teeth have several names, such as deciduous teeth, primary teeth, and milk teeth. And because milk teeth are babies' first set of teeth, milk teeth have an important role in babies' development. Milk teeth help babies make the transition from liquid foods to solid foods. Milk teeth also help in jawbone development. And one of the healthiest types of foods for milk teeth is dairy, like milk.
Cow's milk is an excellent source of nutrients that can boost oral health and protect your child's teeth. Milk also has several properties that help protect milk teeth.
Milk contains nutrients that strengthen and protect teeth
Milk is rich in nutrients that work together to strengthen and protect baby teeth. Drinking milk regularly ensures that children gain a healthy amount of:
- Calcium, which strengthens both bones and teeth.
- Phosphorus, which is necessary for the body to absorb calcium.
- Vitamin A, which boosts the immune system and helps fight oral infections
All of these nutrients are essential for growing children. Calcium is especially important to teeth and even children as young as 1-3 years old need about 700mg per day.
Lactose sugar in milk is difficult for bacteria to break down
Oral bacteria cause tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when oral bacteria digest sugar and then produce acid as a byproduct. This acid damages tooth enamel, leading to cavities and tooth decay. Glucose and fructose are two of the easiest sugars for oral bacteria to break down. But lactose, which is the sugar in standard cow's milk, is very difficult for oral bacteria to break down and digest.
So replacing sugary drinks with cow's milk can help keep decay at bay.
Milk can neutralize acids from bacteria and foods
Because milk is usually pH neutral, drinking it with and after meals can help to protect milk teeth against acids in food and acids produced by oral bacteria. This is because the neutral pH of milk acts as an effective buffer against acidic substances, or substances with a high pH level.
Milk coats teeth in a protective layer
Did you know that milk gets its white colour from casein proteins? These casein proteins also stick to the surface of teeth, forming a thick layer that helps to protect teeth from tooth decay. This is another reason why children should drink milk during or after meals.
If you have young children and want to protect their milk teeth from tooth decay, ensure that you include milk in their daily diet.
Reach out to a dentist near you for more information.