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Is Milk Good For Your Teeth?

A Look Into The Nutrition Of Milk and Teeth Health

Did you grow up being told to drink milk as it’s good for you and helps build strong teeth and bones?  I know I sure did and as I got older and learned about how calcium is good for your teeth, I just assumed it was the calcium in milk that contributes to a strong smile.

Well, fun fact it’s not just the calcium in milk that makes it one of the best foods for your oral health.  Milk is filled with 13 essential nutrients that not only nourish your teeth but contribute to your overall dental health too.

Picture of Milk and Asking If Milk Is Good For Your Teeth?

Not a fan of milk?  Lactose intolerant?  Not a problem, there are other dairy and non-dairy foods out there that can help you get the nutrients your teeth love from milk.

As you can probably tell, yes milk is good for your teeth.  Read on to learn the general health benefits of drinking milk, how milk is good for your teeth, and see a nutrition breakdown on the different types of milk.  Plus, learn what dairy and non-dairy milk alternatives to consume if you’re not a milk drinker.  

General Health Benefits to Drinking Milk

The health of your mouth can sometimes be indicative of the general health of your entire body.  So, milk not only has a whole host of oral health benefits, but it has a lot of benefits to your general health as well. Especially when it comes to weight management, bone health and chronic diseases.

Milk and Weight Management

As previously mentioned, milk is filled with nutrients.  Some of the nutrients found in milk has been studied and shown to potentially help with weight loss and weight management.

Milk contains calcium and protein.  Two important nutrients when it comes to weight management.

Calcium has been studied and shown to potentially aid in weight loss by helping your body to break down and reduce the absorption of fats (1).  

Furthermore, a study of 18,438 middle-aged women found that drinking whole milk resulted in weight loss partly due to milk’s protein (2).  The protein in milk can help you feel fuller for longer which is great for managing hunger.  

And it doesn’t stop there protein has a lot more other benefits, which we will get into later in this post.

But, if you’re looking to lose weight or manage your weight the calcium and protein in milk, particularly whole milk has been shown to help.  So, go ahead and enjoy a cold glass of milk with your next meal or snack.

Milk for Strong Bones

You may already know that milk is great to build strong bones.  But maybe you are not aware of what it is about milk that does this?

Well, milk contains calcium and vitamin D.  Calcium helps reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis by helping to improve bone strength, bone flexibility and bone fortification.

However, you need the vitamin D as it plays a big role in making sure calcium gets absorbed into your bones.  On top of that, vitamin D supports new bone formation and works with calcium to help improve bone mineral density (3).  To learn more about how much milk to drink for bone mineral density, checkout the Cleveland Clinic’s article on milk, bone and vitamin D.

If you’re looking to milk for strong bones, make sure you get milk that is fortified with vitamin D!

Milk For Chronic Diseases

There’s been a ton of studies done on milk and its role in chronic disease management and prevention.  A lot of these studies were small or need additional research to understand how milk helps with chronic diseases.

If you’re curious if milk helps with certain diseases, there’s some solid research that shows calcium may help reduce insulin resistance (4) and that milk consumption in general is associated with reducing the risk of developing type two diabetes or cardiovascular disease (5).

Again, more studies are needed, although this shows another potential overall benefit to reaching for including milk in your diet.

How Milk is Good for Your Teeth

I know you’re reading this article to figure out if milk is good for your teeth and may be wondering what it about milk is that makes it such a powerful drink for mouth health.  One thing is for sure, milk does more for your mouth than just help build strong teeth!

Yes, milk helps make your teeth strong by strengthening the enamel, remineralizing your teeth, reducing bone loss, and increasing jaw strength.

But, on top of that, milk contains casein, amino acids and other nutrients that help act as antibacterial toward cavity-causing bacteria.  Plus, milk neutralizes the pH of acidic foods (which can also cause cavities) and helps to reduce the severity or prevent the development of gum disease (6) (7).  

Remember, earlier in this post I mentioned that milk contains 13 essential nutrients that the typical American often under consumes and are great for overall and dental health.  Well, check out these nutrients and read on to see how they are good for your teeth and mouth.

13 essential nutrients from milk that nourish your teeth and general dental health
NutrientDental Health Benefit
Vitamin Ahelps supports your saliva by reducing dry mouth
Vitamin Dhelps with tooth repair by promoting new bone growth
Vitamin B2helps manage gum disease
Vitamin B3helps heal canker sores
Vitamin B5may help heal oral tissues
Vitamin B12helps reduce mouth inflammation and supports gum health
Phosphorushelps strengthen teeth by helping to rebuild tooth enamel
Potassiumhelps reduce tooth decay
Iodinehelps reduce dry mouth
Seleniummay help reduce inflamed or sore mouth
Zincmay help control plaque, prevent tooth decay, and manage bad breath
Proteinhelps build bone, promote jaw strength, and strengthen teeth
Calciumstrengthens enamel, protects teeth from developing cavities, reduces the risk of gum disease

So, it’s not just the calcium, protein and vitamin D in milk that makes it such a powerhouse for your teeth and mouth.  These 13 nutrients, along with additional amino acids all work together within milk to nourish your oral microbiota, teeth, and gums.

P.S. If your interested in more in-depth info on some of these nutrients, check out my other blog post on 6 vitamins for healthy teeth and gums.

Nutrition Breakdown of Each Type of Cow’s Milk

You may have seen a variety of options in the milk section of your grocery store.  Nowadays there are many types of cow’s milk on the market and when you’re looking at so many brands in the grocery store, knowing which one is best for you can be hard to figure out.

So, provided below is a nutrition breakdown of each type of cow’s milk.  

a breakdown fo each type of cow's milk nutrition profile for dental health
Milk TypeCaloriesFatProteinCalciumPotassiumVitamin AVitamin D
Whole Milk1508 g8 g30% DV11% DV6% DV25% DV
2% Milk
Aka
Reduced Fat
1305g8g30% DV11% DV10% DV25% DV
1% Milk
Aka
Skim Milk
1102.5g8g30% DV12% DV10% DV25% DV
Nonfat Milk900g8g30% DV12% DV10% DV25% DV
Lactose Free
Whole Milk
1609g8g30% DV11% DV6% DV25% DV
g = grams, DV = daily value, based on a 2,000 calories a day diet

Which milk you choose will depend on your health goals, lifestyle, preferences and overall diet.  Some research has shown that drinking whole milk may aid in weight loss.  Plus, whole milk tends to have more omega 3s from fat and fat aids in better absorption of vitamins A and D.  

However, skim milk and non-fat milk have more potassium and vitamin because when the fat is removed vitamins are added back to the milk to enhance its nutrition profile.

The US dietary guidelines recommend 3 cups of dairy per day for adult men and women.  When figuring out which type of cow’s milk to choose, try to keep in mind other dairy sources you typically eat. Again, no matter which type of milk you go for, you’ll be drinking up a ton of nutrition.

Dairy and Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

Not into drinking milk or prefer to not consume any dairy at all?  No problem, there are other alternative ways you can nourish your dental health and get all those vitamins and minerals typically found in milk.  

Dairy Alternatives

If having a glass of milk isn’t your thing, other dairy alternatives are great options to ensure that you are still getting good sources of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.  These sources include yogurt, hard cheeses like extra sharp cheddar cheese, and soft cheeses.

As an FYI if you enjoy eating yogurt, be mindful of the added sugars in some flavored yogurts.

Non-Dairy Alternatives

Trying to get all the nutritional benefits from milk in one other non-dairy food may be hard to come by.  So, try to focus on adequate calcium from foods such as soy milk, tofu, canned fish, dark leafy greens, and calcium-fortified juices.  

In general, consuming a daily diet with a variety of protein, veggies, fruit, and grains will help to ensure that you are getting plenty of mouth healthy nutrients.

Yes, Milk Is Good for Your Teeth

Hopefully, from this post, you have learned that not only is milk good for your teeth, but it’s also good for your entire mouth and your body in general.  If you’re a cow’s milk drinker cheers to slurping up all those benefits in one serving!

No matter if you’re a milk drinker, dairy consumer or prefer no dairy at all, you can feel confident knowing you have many food options that will help nourish your dental health.  

Hopefully, you found this information useful.  If you are looking for help with meal plans or nutrition coaching for general dental health or if you have an upcoming oral surgery and need help with what to eat before and after, head on over to my contact me page and reach out!

women with milk mustache and big smile, visualizing how milk is good for teeth

Milk and Teeth Health Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15879568/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26912496/
  3. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-drinking-too-much-milk-make-your-bones-more-brittle/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27882862/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15879568/
  6. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-12-61
  7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255022601_The_Emerging_Role_of_Dairy_Proteins_and_Bioactive_Peptides_in_Nutrition_and_Health

Is Milk Good For Your Teeth?

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