Milk for Your Child’s Healthy Mouth
Calcium is important for children's growing bones and healthy mouth. Calcium helps keep the teeth, gums, and jawbones strong.
Studies show that most kids don't get the calcium they need. In fact, more than half of teenage boys and girls don't get enough calcium. Bones grow most during the childhood and teenage years.
By eating and drinking foods with calcium, children and teens can build up calcium-rich bones for now and for when they are adults. This calcium helps keep bones strong and may prevent them from getting fragile and breaking later in life.
Milk and other dairy foods are excellent sources of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that helps make teeth strong and healthy. Even before baby teeth and adult teeth come in, they need calcium. And after teeth come in, they continue to take in calcium so they can develop fully. Calcium makes gums healthy. Getting enough calcium as a young adult may help prevent gum disease later in life. Calcium makes jawbones strong and healthy too. Jawbones need to be strong - they hold the teeth in place.
According to the Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, National Academy of Sciences, 1997, one 8-oz glass of milk contains 300mg of calcium. Children between ages 1-3 need about 500mg of calcium (one and on-half glass of milk). Children between 4-8 years old need about 800mg of calcium (two glasses of milk). And children of 9-18 years old need 1300 mg (four glasses of milk).
Kids can get calcium from:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following types of milk for children:
Food labels can tell you how much calcium is in one serving of a food. Look at the % Daily Value next to the calcium number on the food label.
Not everyone can drink milk. Some people get an upset stomach if they drink milk or eat dairy products. This may be (but is not always) a sign of lactose intolerance. Lactose is the sugar found in milk and dairy foods. When lactose is not digested it may cause an upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Lactose intolerance is not common in young children. It is much less of a problem if milk or dairy foods are taken with meals. Talk to your pediatrician if you think your child might have trouble digesting milk and dairy foods.
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