“How much calcium does my child really need?”

Everyone remembers their parents reminding them to drink milk on a daily basis to build strong bones in order to grow tall and strong. Getting enough dairy is critical for kids whose teeth are still growing. A child who consumes the recommended daily serving of dairy will develop healthy, strong teeth for the rest of his or her life.

Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium to help your child build bone tissue and maintain optimal dental health. Milk contains vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and proteins. Magnesium works to promote calcium deposits in your child’s enamel, while phosphorus forms a small but important barrier against acidic foods that are known to cause caries, or cavities.

Experts at the Academy of General Dentistry warn that kids don’t receive enough calcium, stating only one in five children meets the minimum standards for calcium consumption. That is, two and a half cups of dairy per day. Children who are nine years old need almost twice as much calcium as younger kids and about the same amount as adult men and women. In addition to milk, eating yogurt or cheese is a great way your child can increase his or her dairy consumption.

If your child is lactose intolerant or is allergic to milk, there are many products which contain the same amount of calcium that your child would receive from drinking a glass of milk. These include:

  • Calcium-fortified soy milk
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified breads and cereals
  • Plant-based problem foods such as beans, broccoli or spinach
  • Tofu

If your child does not get enough dairy–rich products, they run the risk of improper tooth development and other dental health problems. We strongly encourage you to monitor your child’s dairy consumption to ensure he or she grows healthy bones and teeth to last a lifetime.

If you have any questions about the role calcium plays in your child’s diet, please give us a call or ask us during your child’s next appointment!

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