You might already have known and it’s true: calcium is super important for healthy, strong teeth! After all, tooth enamel is made up of mostly calcium, so getting enough of it through daily nutrition keeps enamel strong against cavities and tooth decay.
Here’s a fun fact about calcium from the Kids Mile High team: calcium is only stored in your child’s bones and teeth! So it goes without saying that including foods with calcium in your child’s diet every day is essential for maintaining a constant store of calcium throughout childhood.
Here’s a list of the 6 best sources of calcium to offer your kiddos on the daily:
One of the best (and kid-approved) sources of calcium for teeth? You guessed it; milk and dairy products. And one of the great things about dairy is that it’s already a common part of kids’ diets, whether at breakfast, in the lunchbox, or at snack times.
Fun fact: the calcium in dairy is the most easily absorbed, which means more bang for your buck when it comes to calcium’s nutrition for teeth. So go ahead and include foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, and any recipes that include these calcium superstars. Which dairy product has the most calcium? Hands down, cheese, with about 700mg of calcium per 100g. Second place is plain, nonfat yogurt with about 200mg per 100g serving.
So go ahead and include dairy products daily to help your kids get the calcium they need for strong teeth. Just check the sugar content — as your Denver dentists, we want to let you know that some dairy products, like flavored yogurts, have a lot of sugar and can contribute to plaque build up.
Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium
Now what if cow’s milk and dairy products are not part of your kid’s diet because of allergies or intolerance? No problem! Thankfully, calcium is present in most dairy alternatives. Options like nut, soy, pea, and oat milks have natural and added calcium and so do the products made from them.
According to the American Society for Nutrition, almond, pea, and flaxseed milks (yes, flaxseed milk) have more calcium for both teeth and general bone health than cow’s milk. However, they have less protein, which is also essential for kids’ growing bodies and brains.
When in doubt, go green! Green veggies contain natural calcium for healthy teeth and gums. Consider calcium-rich green foods for your kids’ teeth like:
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
Pro tip from us at Kids Mile High: cooking greens boosts their calcium content, with steaming or boiling them better than frying or sauteing. In fact, one study found that a cup of raw spinach had 30mg of calcium, but when cooked, the same amount had 245mg of calcium.
Think “eating the rainbow” for fruit sources of calcium. Vibrant-colored fruits like oranges, kiwis, and blackberries are great for calcium. Tuck these fruits into your child’s lunches for the calcium boost they need every day. Dried fruits are also great foods for calcium, especially dried apricots, figs, dates, and prunes. But we do suggest not offering dried fruits too often since they’re high in sugar.
Want to get the most out of the calcium in fruits (and veggies)? When eating, pair them with rich sources of vitamin D like cheese, egg yolks, or fish. Vitamin D helps calcium absorb better, moving it from your child’s gut and depositing it into their bones to build bone density — that includes their jawbone and teeth!
Let’s be honest, fish isn’t always top-of-the-list when it comes to kids’ favorite foods. But if your little ones do like it, fish is a fantastic way to help with your child’s nutrition for super strong teeth. It has both calcium and vitamin D, which, like mentioned earlier, work better together. Like Batman and Robin. Or Antman and the Wasp.
Vegan Sources of Calcium
These days, many families are going vegetarian or vegan. If your family is vegan, you can find calcium for your kids’ teeth in many plant-based foods. As mentioned, dairy alternatives have either added or natural calcium — or both. And, of course, green veggies and bright-colored fruits are a must in vegan diets.
Other vegan sources of calcium include:
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Edamame beans
- Sweet potatoes
- White beans
More Nutrition Tips for Kids’ Teeth from Your Denver, CO Dentist and Orthodontist
Hopefully this list of the best sources of calcium helps you make great choices for your little ones’ teeth. If you need more tips on teeth-happy eating, we’re your Englewood, Thornton, and Denver dentists with the info. We’re all about helping kids have super teeth!
Contact us to make an appointment today.