Is Milk Bad For Your Teeth?

Do you remember all of those "got milk?" commercials? Surely, milk is good for your teeth or was it all a lie, fabricated by the dairy industry?

Got Milk?

Table of Contents:

Why is milk good for your teeth?

Milk is good for your teeth because it contains a lot of calcium, vitamin D, and casein. All three of these help your body build strong teeth and protect them from tooth decay.

  • Calcium. This is the building block for your teeth and your bones. In fact, they are mostly made out of it! In fact, for your teeth to remineralize and reverse cavities, calcium and phosphate are required. Without them, you cannot remineralize your enamel.

  • Vitamin D. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiencies usually lead to lower bone densities as well as affecting teeth. What this vitamin does, is it allows the body to absorb calcium.

  • Casein. This is a common protein that is found in milk. Unbeknownst to most people, it has the ability to form a protective layer over the enamel and prevent enamel erosion. This means that casein has a protective effect against tooth decay.

All three of these components of milk are what makes it good for your teeth. They not only help you build healthy teeth but also strong bones in the process!

Why would milk be bad for your teeth?

Despite the positive benefits of drinking milk, it can rot your teeth if you consume it haphazardly such as drinking it right before bed. We've seen many instances of milk ruining infant's teeth when the mother leaves a bottle of milk in the baby's mouth as they fall asleep. The milk, which is full of sugar ends up causing tooth decay all over the baby's mouth and that condition is called baby bottle tooth decay.

The only reason that milk is bad for you is because of the sugar that is naturally in it. Tuscan whole milk has 12 grams of sugar per 8 oz of milk and that is not artificially added. That is a pretty hefty dose of sugar in that one cup!

Should you brush your teeth after drinking milk?

Since we know that milk can cause tooth decay, it would be wise to brush afterwards but there is one caveat. Brushing your teeth right after drinking milk can be bad for your teeth because your mouth is in an acidic environment. You want to wait about 30-60 minutes before brushing so that your mouth can be less acidic. If you brush your teeth in an acidic environment, you can cause enamel erosion.

Do dentist recommend milk?

Our long island city dentist do recommend drinking milk because it is a readily accessible source of calcium, vitamin D, and casein. You can easily find the product at any supermarket and deli near you. Despite the sugar, those three ingredients are needed to build strong teeth.

With that being said, milk is not necessary for teeth per say because there ARE alternatives to getting those three ingredients. A healthier alternative would be almond milk which has these benefits over milk.

  • Lower calories

  • No cholesterol

  • Very low fat

  • Higher amount of calcium.

  • LESS sugar than milk

The point that we would like to focus on is that your typical Silk Almond Milk has only 8 grams of sugar, which is 33% less sugar than milk. Having less sugar will decrease the chances of tooth decay but you still shouldn't swish the milk around your teeth because that isn't good for it. Just drink it normally.

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