Chances are that you’ve heard this phrase or have seen the iconic ads before. For more than 20 years, the Milk Processor Education Program promoted milk using this powerful slogan. During the campaign, milk was marketed as a healthy choice to promote strong bones and teeth.
So, is there any truth to this claim? Or was it simply a clever marketing tactic?
Let’s take a look at the evidence proving that dairy is important for strong teeth.
Turns out that there’s some validity to the importance of dairy for a healthy smile. Calcium, which can be found in various dairy products, is considered absolutely essential for strong teeth. This particular mineral is important to help strengthen your jawbone and harden the outer protective layer of the tooth, known as the tooth enamel.
Getting enough calcium is crucial during developmental years but is also just as important for adults who can experience bone loss. The amount of calcium you need each day will vary depending on factors like age, gender, and susceptibility to osteoporosis. The National Institute of Health breaks down recommended daily calcium intake as follows:
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to get enough calcium each day. Some of the best sources of calcium include items like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Other nondairy options for calcium include dried figs, broccoli, collard greens, and soybeans.
Top Benefits of Dairy for Your Smile
Dairy is known to promote overall health by building strong bones and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, dairy products are also known to be powerful for promoting great oral health. Some of the top ways dairy can benefit your smile include:
Fight Tooth Decay: Most people know that consuming sugar can contribute to tooth decay and the development of dental caries, but very few realize why this actually occurs. Sugar is a dental hazard because bacteria will metabolize sugars and create an enamel-eroding acid. After enough time, acids will begin to wear away the tooth and cause tooth decay.
Dairy is a great addition to your diet because it helps to neutralize the mouth, which in turn, ends up preventing tooth decay. The peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry found that any dairy product can help reduce acidity in the mouth, but cheese was especially helpful for preventing tooth decay.
Prevent Gum Disease: Dairy can also help promote periodontal health. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology analyzed 942 subjects found that participants who regularly consume dairy products have lower instances of gum disease. Researchers found that adults who consume at least 55 grams of lactic acid per day have a lower risk for gum disease.
It’s important to note that the study did not distinguish the types of dairy products associated with healthy gums. However, it’s safe to say that products high in lactic acid, like yogurt, are most likely responsible for the positive results.
While dietary choices can have a significant impact on dental health, visiting your dentist is still immensely important for maintaining a healthy smile. If you’re in Palm Harbor or surrounding areas, contact our office to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Caputo.
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A