Calcium is crucial for dental health and children’s physical growth. The best source of calcium is dairy. Milk, cheese, yogurt.
Unfortunately, many kids and adults alike are lactose-intolerant, making dairy a problematic source for calcium intake. Lactose intolerance can be mild or severe. Avoiding triggers is important. So aside from supplements, where can you and your family naturally obtain calcium?
Fortified soy or nut milks
These milk alternatives naturally contain calcium or are fortified by manufacturers.
By nature, soy milk contains 61mg of calcium per cup, and 300mg or more if fortified.
Nut milks like cashew milk, hazelnut milk and almond milk are enriched with nutrients that make them equal to or better than cow’s milk, containing up to 50% of calcium recommended daily intake (RDI).
We recommend that you check for added flavors and steer clear of products with added sugar.
Juice with added calcium
Yes, dentists are not necessarily thrilled with the idea of promoting juice intake as the acidic and sugary qualities can be harmful to teeth. But, frankly, juice can be a good source of calcium. As long as you rinse your mouth and drink the juice in one sitting and not spaced out over several hours, you aren’t exposing your mouth to excessive acid for too long.
Soybeans, edamame and tofu with added calcium
Soybeans have 515mg of calcium per cup. You can roast them, add them to salads, or mash them into dips.
Edamame is delicious, steamed and lightly salted, and it packs 10% of the RDI for calcium. These are really fun for kids to eat as they have to work to get the beans out.
Tofu enriched with calcium can deliver an outstanding 861mg per half cup! However, it can be tough to get kids to like tofu. In the case of picky eaters, try teriyaki sauce, low sodium soy sauce, or hiding it in scrambled eggs.
Fish with bones
Canned fish like sardines and salmon are rich with calcium because of the soft bones you can and should eat believe it or not!
Leafy green veggies
Collard greens (357mg per cup) and kale (179mg per cup) have high levels of calcium readily available for your body. Fresh, organic lettuces like these can be so tasty as well. Use them for lettuce wraps to make a fun dish kids love to eat.
Of course, it is important to consult your pediatrician about your child’s calcium intake but we hope some of these suggestions help you find new ways to deliver important nutrients to your growing children.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.
Image Courtesy of The Rolla Daily News