YOU KNOW THE MESSAGE WELL – Drink milk for healthy teeth and bones. Recognizing the importance of milk (and repeated reminders from our pediatrician) at Dr. Brucken’s House our kid’s typical drink options are: milk or water.
While I personally am not a big milk drinker – pouring my boys’ sippy cups of milk last night got me thinking about why calcium and vitamin D really are so important for teeth and bones.
It’s not just the calcium that is important; Vitamin D is necessary…But why?
Interestingly, although vitamin D is called a “vitamin” – it is actually a hormone. It is better described as a hormone because it is a substance made by one organ that sends a chemical message to another organ to elicit a specific response. In this case, vitamin D signals our intestines to absorb calcium into the bloodstream.
So, we could consume loads of calcium – yet without the special function vitamin D performs – we would not actually absorb or benefit from that calcium.
When it comes to vitamin D, our best source is the sun. When exposed to the sun’s radiation, our bodies naturally produce vitamin D. But of course, be careful and use common sense—you also know the potential problems associated with prolonged, unprotected sun exposure.
Good News – Our bodies doesn’t care whether vitamin D comes from fortified foods, a supplement bottle, or a natural chemical reaction between skin and sunlight.
So what’s a non-milk drinker to do – when calcium and vitamin D are important for teeth and bones?
The dairy group certainly extends beyond milk to a range of calcium rich choices, like yogurt and cheese. 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 for both.
Here are additional ideas from a nutritionist:
Among the dangers in calcium and vitamin D deficiency is the increased risk of gum disease. In addition, these deficiencies can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.
The American Journal of Medicine features a study suggesting that taking calcium and vitamin D aimed at preventing osteoporosis has a beneficial effect on tooth retention. This study is just more reason we should think of the importance of calcium and vitamin D throughout our lives!
If you have additional questions about this or any other dental topic, Comfort Dental is here for you! And if you are a parent, keep those sippy cups (and regular cups) filled with milk…then look to the many other sources of these important nutrients throughout your family’s lives. Healthy teeth, healthy bodies, healthy lives!
Thank you for visiting us and we look forward to seeing you soon!