The Benefits of Dairy Products for Children's Dental Health

Today, we want to talk about the benefits of dairy products when it comes to children's dental health. Keep reading to learn more!
The Benefits of Dairy Products for Children's Dental Health
Vanesa Evangelina Buffa

Reviewed and approved by the dentist Vanesa Evangelina Buffa.

Last update: 18 May, 2023

Nutrition during childhood influences many aspects of children’s growth and development. In this article, we’ll tell you about the benefits of dairy products for the dental health of children.

A varied, balanced, nutritious, and healthy diet favors the correct development of the structures of the mouth and reduces the risk of suffering from diseases. Incorporating all the food groups is a way of guaranteeing the nutrients that your child’s body needs in order to grow properly.

Keep reading and discover the benefits of dairy products on dental health.

Dairy products and children’s dental health

Milk and its derivatives, such as yogurts, butter, cheeses, and creams, make up one of the main food groups necessary in children’s nutrition. Incorporating them on a daily basis is key for proper development and growth.

Dairy products are rich in vitamins and calcium. This last nutrient plays a fundamental role in the formation of strong and healthy bones and teeth. If there’s a deficiency of this element during the growth stage, it won’t be possible to compensate for the deficit in the future.

Yogurt is a good way to offer dairy products, as there are different flavors and it can be either liquid or whole.
Yogurt is a good way to offer dairy products, as there are different flavors and it can be either liquid or whole.

Calcium is essential for healthy teeth

A glass of milk of 7 ounces already allows you to reach 28% of the daily recommended calcium intake, with a content of 220 mg. Although this nutrient can also be incorporated through other foods, such as legumes, green leafy vegetables, and nuts, dairy products are the best dietary source of calcium due to the bioavailability they provide.

Therefore, the calcium intake of dairy products is one of the main benefits of dairy products for children’s dental health. If the jaw bones and teeth have enough of this nutrient, they’ll be able to grow and develop properly.

But dairy products also have other components that make them non-cariogenic foods and are capable of protecting teeth against caries. For example, some products for dental use contain casein to take advantage of its preventive action against demineralization and its remineralizing effects. Some of these components are as follows:

  • Phosphorus
  • Fats
  • Antibacterial substances
  • Proteins
  • Casein

Yogurts provide great benefits

In addition to all the benefits provided by milk, yogurts have some added effects due to their probiotic content. The presence of bacterial colonies in their composition is associated with the decrease of Streptococcus mutans in the mouth, which are the microorganisms responsible for tooth decay.

These beneficial strains interfere with the microbial imbalance and can help reduce tooth decay, periodontal disease, bad breath, and candidiasis.

In addition, yogurt’s a convenient  and accessible way for children to accept the consumption of dairy products, especially those who dislike the taste of milk. There are different flavors and ways to consume it, so it can be an excellent healthy option for children’s desserts.

The effects of dairy on children’s dental health

We’ve already told you about the importance of dairy in children’s dental health. Below, we’ll explain the most notorious benefits of these foods in the oral cavity:

  • Stronger teeth: Calcium and phosphorus favor the formation of a good quality bone and tooth structure. In addition, vitamins A and D ensure the availability and correct levels of these nutrients during the growth stage.
  • Healthy gums: The vitamins present in dairy products improve the health of the oral mucous membranes. The probiotics contained in yogurts boost defenses and prevent gingivitis and periodontitis.
  • Hydration: Because of their high water content, drinking milk or yogurt is a healthy way to incorporate liquid into the body.
A young girl drinking milk and smiling.
Dairy consumption in childhood helps strengthen teeth, maintain healthy gums, and prevent tooth decay.

More reasons to give dairy to kids

According to the American Association of Pediatrics, ideally, little ones should consume between 2 and 3 servings of dairy each day. This includes milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, and butter. In addition, milk products have protective properties for the mouth, so they’re foods that help prevent cavities.

There are more benefits of dairy products in children when it comes to the overall health of little ones, such as the following:

  • Improved physical fitness during adulthood: Children who drink milk regularly will be in better shape. They’ll also be less likely to suffer bone fractures or develop osteoporosis in old age.
  • They help children sleep better: A warm glass of milk, without sugar or other additives, before going to bed helps children relieve stress and relax their muscles. Afterward, they’ll need to brush their teeth and then your little one will be ready to fall asleep much more easily.
  • Dairy products boost energy: The carbohydrates in milk provide children’s bodies with much of the energy they need for their daily activities.
  • Stronger muscles: Dairy products contribute to the increase of muscle mass.
  • They reduce cardiovascular problems: Dairy products improve the metabolism of lipids, especially animal fats present in the diet. This reduces the risk of suffering arterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and cardiovascular diseases.
  • They control weight: The calcium in dairy products helps control body fat and helps maintain weight.

Dairy products in children’s diet

Children’s diet is a very important factor when it comes to their health. Having a varied, balanced, sufficient, and healthy nutritional intake allows for adequate growth and development.

As we’ve told you, dairy products are a food group of great importance for overall health and, above all, for dental health. Providing children with sufficient quantities of milk and its derivatives will favor their well-being and improve the condition of their mouth.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.