Dairy Month celebrates the importance of dairy foods in our daily diet. Dairy foods such as milk, cream, yoghurt and cheese contain essential nutrients which help to grow stronger bones and teeth, avert osteoporosis, and build and repair muscle. A good diet is important for good health and our overall health affects our dental health.
Dairy products are particularly important in children’s diets as calcium is vital for growing strong jawbones and healthy teeth. Getting your children off to a good start is important for their dental health into adulthood.
Growing healthy teeth
Babies’ teeth are developing long before they begin teething and baby teeth are just as important as their permanent teeth. Caring for your baby’s oral health begins at birth and they can gradually learn to clean and floss their teeth on their own by school age.
Children need calcium for growing bone and teeth – as they transition to solids it’s vital that calcium remains a part of their diet along with other healthy foods.
Regular dental checks with your National Dental Care practitioner from the age of two will help spot any issues early and make dental care a normal part of your child’s wellbeing.
Who else needs calcium?
Calcium is an important part of everyone’s diet for health and wellbeing. Your general health affects your oral health – if you’re not well you’re more vulnerable to gum disease and less able to heal from it. Your teeth depend on your jaws and gums – if you’re losing bone density and developing periodontal disease, you are at risk of losing teeth.
Young people who are underweight, particularly young women who are not menstruating, are also often low in calcium, putting them at risk of fractures.
Women who have gone through menopause can also find themselves low in calcium and older men are just a bit later at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Regular appointments with your National Dental Care practitioner can help maintain your oral health while you treat any other health issues.
Where else can you get calcium?
If you or your children are lactose-intolerant, you can also get calcium from brown rice, oranges, cabbage, beans, broccoli, peas, salmon, sardines, almonds, tahini paste and calcium-fortified milk alternatives such as soy, rice, oat and almond milks.
Your doctor may also prescribe calcium tablets if you’re very low on calcium or at risk of osteoporosis.
See your National Dental Care practitioner if you’re overdue for a checkup or have any concerns about your oral health.