It probably comes as no surprise to hear your dentist in Wicker Park talk about all of the oral health benefits associated with drinking milk. But not all milk is created equal when it comes to building strong and healthy teeth. In fact, one of the most popular alternatives to cow’s milk, soy milk, can actually be worse for your teeth.
Soy Milk & Oral Health
Many people have turned away from drinking cow’s milk in favor of plant-based alternatives such as soy milk. While soy milk can certainly help reduce caloric intake with only 80-100 calories per cup and it packs just as much of a protein punch as cow’s milk, it may not be as beneficial to your teeth and may even harm them. But how can that be? Doesn’t soy milk have calcium and vitamin D, the two things that make cow’s milk so great for teeth? Well, even though soy milk does contain this vitamin and mineral power team, there is less of it than cow’s milk. Additionally, research suggests that after drinking soy milk, mouth bacteria produced five to six times more acid as compared to drinking cow’s milk. This is concerning for your dentist in Wicker Park. You see, more acid typically means more damage to the protective tooth enamel, and reduced protection means more risk for tooth decay and cavities. But that’s not all, many brands of soy milk also contain added sugars, and as everyone knows, sugar is no friend of teeth. As always, we need to recognize that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of soy milk on teeth, but this is a good place to start.
What’s So Great About Cow’s Milk?
Even though many people may choose to drink a milk alternative, and that’s ok, we still want to make sure that our patients and neighbors know the benefits of good old-fashioned cow’s milk. First and foremost, as we mentioned above, cow’s milk is loaded with two things our teeth love and need — calcium and vitamin D. When combined, calcium and vitamin D work to replenish lost minerals from teeth and tooth enamel. This can protect teeth from bacteria, acid, decay, and cavities and help keep teeth super strong.
What If You Can’t Drink Cow’s Milk?
Your dentist in Wicker Park understands that some people may not be able to drink cow’s milk whether due to lactose intolerance, other dietary restrictions, or religious reasons. But that doesn’t mean these individuals can’t get their daily dose of vitamin D and calcium through other means. If you’re someone who can’t drink cow’s milk or has trouble digesting it, make sure to supplement your calcium and vitamin intake through other foods and drinks such as:
Besides eating well and getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet, it’s also important to see your dentist in Wicker Park for regular checkups and dental cleanings every six months. This combination of eating right and proper preventive dental care can go a long way in keeping your smile strong and healthy for a lifetime.