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The Role Of Calcium And Vitamin D In Keeping Teeth Healthy

Does milk really “do a body good”? Some believe it does, and others believe it doesn’t.

Most of us have been told (and many of us tell our children) that drinking milk builds healthy teeth and bones. But our nutritional and dietary preferences are not only widely varied, they also change from time to time. Does milk really “do a body good”? Some believe it does, and others believe it doesn’t.

Regardless of your take, you’re not alone. Today, millions of people follow vegan or vegetarian diets, and tens of millions of people are lactose intolerant. Whether or not you choose to avoid dairy for health or other personal reasons, here are some thoughts from our team and a prominent nutritionist.

Calcium And Vitamin D Are Important To Oral Health

It’s true that dairy products are full of calcium, and often supplemented with vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium and other bone-building minerals). While people on specialized diets (including vegans and vegetarians) are typically very careful about eating healthy, there’s still a risk of calcium and vitamin D deficiency.

One of the dangers in calcium and vitamin D deficiency is the increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, these deficiencies can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Without the right vitamins and minerals, your mouth’s defenses may be down.

There ARE Alternatives To Dairy Products

The good news is that, if you choose, you can get these nutrients from alternative sources. For example, just one ounce of sesame seeds contains almost as much calcium as an entire glass of milk. Other major sources of calcium are dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens.

When it comes to vitamin D, surprisingly, your best source is the sun! When exposed to the sun’s radiation, your body naturally produces vitamin D. But of course, be careful and use common sense—you also know the potential problems associated with prolonged/unprotected sun exposure.

There are also a number of things we can eat and drink that are “fortified” with calcium and vitamin D including soy milk, orange juice and some breakfast cereals. You can also consider taking supplements.

Do you have questions about this topic? Contact us! Do you have suggestions for others who may be wondering about other sources for their daily calcium? Let us know! Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

And don't forget to check out every Friday on Patch.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

brooklynwind June 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM
I think it is essential that doctors begin giving more nutritional guidance, and this is a great post about milk because it makes me think about sources of minerals. Nourishment is very complicated and it helps to be reminded that we also get vitamins from exposure to the elements.
Jen Gibbons Lizakowski August 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Your site has some really helpful information. We invite you to read our articles about oral health topics and blog with us at http://www.dentalinsurance.org/blog/index.php/2012/06/travel-with-your-teeth-in-mind/.

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