We know dairy is a necessary part everyone’s diet, and we know it can even help ward off osteoporosis in older adults. But what about in kids? Dairy, and especially its calcium content, helps children build strong bones and yes, strong teeth. At our pediatric dental office in Wichita, we’d like to share a bit of information about how important dairy is for your kid’s smile.
What Exactly Does Calcium Do?
Teeth and bones store up to 99% of the body’s calcium, so getting enough of it is pretty important for the entire body. Calcium can also fight off tooth decay…and dairy products are the best way to get it. Milk and cheese, for example, contain calcium, phosphorous, and proteins called caseins. When combined together, these ingredients actually create a protective layer that keeps acid and bacteria off the enamel, decreasing the likelihood of cavities. However, calcium is only half of what’s necessary for strong bones and teeth. In order for the calcium to be absorbed and used properly, you also need vitamin D.
How Much Calcium Does Your Child Need?
There are some basic calcium intake recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, and they are definitely dependent on age. Follow the guidelines below to determine how much calcium your child, and you, should have everyday.
- 1-3 Years: 500 milligrams
- 4-8 Years: 800 milligrams
- 9-18 Years: 1,300 milligrams
- 19-50 Years: 1,000 milligrams
- 51+ Years: 1,200 milligrams
Some people have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy. If this is the case, it’s important to receive adequate amounts of calcium from other sources. Leafy, green vegetables like broccoli are high in calcium. There are also several types of fish, such as sardines and salmon, that can help provide the calcium needed for healthy teeth and bones. Can’t get your child to eat fish? That’s ok, use a calcium fortified cereal instead.
Brushing is Still #1
Even if your child is getting the recommended amount of calcium, it’s still incredibly necessary to maintain good oral hygiene habits. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, everyday. It’s also crucial for your child to visit a pediatric dentist in Wichita regularly. Appointments at least every six months allow your child’s teeth to be even more protected against decay and cavities through the use of fluoride, sealants, and professional cleanings.
If it’s time for your little one to see a dentist, give our Wichita pediatric dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.