In the past few years, many people have been ditching cow’s milk for other often plant-based alternatives such as soy milk. While your dentist in Madison certainly understands the appeal of this lower-calorie milk option, we do want to make sure that we examine the potential effects from an oral health standpoint. So what do you say? Join us in taking a closer look at the impact of soy milk on oral health.
Up First — Cow’s Milk
Before we dive into some of the potential oral health side effects of soy milk, it’s important to understand why your dentist in Madison is such a big fan of cow’s milk. Essentially, this staple go-to for many families provides our teeth with some of the most important things we can ever give them — calcium and vitamin D. The powerhouse combination of calcium and vitamin D is crucial to not only building and maintaining strong teeth but bones, too. Calcium and vitamin D help bones and teeth replenish minerals they lose over time. In terms of oral health, this replenishment helps keep teeth tough, strong, and protected against bacteria and acids. Without them, teeth are at increased risk of decay and cavities.
A Closer Look at Soy Milk
While there are many different types of cow milk alternatives, we’re going to take a closer look at one of the more common choices of soy milk. Soy milk is a popular choice because it’s lower in calories and contains less saturated fat than cow’s milk. It even still has our powerhouse duo of calcium and vitamin D. So from a dietary perspective, soy milk is a great choice. However, your dentist in Madison wants you to know that the amount of calcium and vitamin D is often lower in soy milk when compared to cow’s milk, and there’s also an interesting thing that happens after we drink soy milk. According to recent studies, when introduced to soy milk, mouth bacteria produce six times more acid than they do with cow’s milk. Why is this concerning? Well, more acid means a bigger chance of enamel erosion as well as an increased chance of decay and cavities. An important thing to note: As with any type of research, more studies are needed in order to develop a strong correlation between soy milk and acid production in the mouth, but this is a good place to start and we’re comfortable saying when in doubt, drink cow’s milk.
What If You Can’t Drink Cow’s Milk?
We understand that many people can’t drink cow’s milk due to dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance or religious reasons. When this is the case, it’s important to get calcium and vitamin from other sources such as soy milk or other foods and drinks such as:
Now, even though diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth, it’s still crucial to take care of your teeth at home and see your dentist in Madison every six months. So make sure you brush and floss regularly and schedule (and keep!) your appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist twice a year.