Most know that milk contains calcium and that our teeth and bones require calcium to be strong and healthy.
For years, it was claimed that milk helps replenish the lost calcium our teeth and bones need.
However, lots of controversy has “found” that milk can actually draw calcium away from our teeth and bones.
Fortunately, we can clear things up and show exactly what a dairy-free diet provides for the teeth.
So, does milk actually provide calcium for my teeth or bones or not?
Milk is in fact a great source of calcium and vitamin D for our pearly whites (and bones too, of course), keeping them strong and able to fight against many oral health-related problems such as tooth decay. In particular, calcium strengthens the protective enamel layer of our teeth to keep them safe from cavities, scratches, tooth sensitivity, and other issues.
However, in order for one to properly absorb calcium, a sufficient supply of vitamin D is a must. That’s why vitamin D plays an important role for our teeth and bones. Just calcium alone is not enough.
Luckily, like milk, many other foods and beverages that contain calcium also contain vitamin D. Fortunately for those who are lactose intolerant, not all of these sources of calcium and vitamin D come from dairy products.
Which foods contain calcium, other than dairy products?
- Brussel sprouts
- Soy milk
- Bok choy
- Orange juice
Which foods contain vitamin D, other than dairy products?
- Beef liver
- Orange juice
- Soy milk
- Egg yolks
Is it bad to have a dairy-free diet?
Those who don’t consume any dairy products at all aren’t necessarily lacking in the calcium and vitamin D department. As long as one is consuming many other calcium and vitamin D-enriched foods and beverages, such as the ones listed above, one should have no problem with achieving healthy teeth without the consumption of dairy.
A calcium deficiency, however, can not only contribute to oral health-related problems, but also muscle tension, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis in the future. It’s also important to keep in mind that many dairy products such as raw milk, kefir, and yogurt provide some of the largest sources of calcium and vitamin D.
Just like vitamin D is necessary to properly absorb calcium, magnesium is important in order to activate vitamin D. Unfortunately, most folks are lacking in magnesium. Supplements are typically a must; however, there are great sources of it in non-dairy foods as well:
- Leafy greens
- Dried fruit
- Whole grains
Overall, while it’s not vital to have a dairy-based diet to have healthy pearly whites, dairy products are one of the biggest sources of calcium, vitamin D, AND magnesium, all important in the absorption of calcium in the first place. Luckily, there are many non-dairy sources of these important vitamins, and of course, supplements available in stores.