Milk causes bad breath. Yet, it has so many benefits that we’re willing to forgive it. After all, milk is a source of calcium and, if enriched, vitamin D. It tastes great and provides valuable protein. And it’s where oral care probiotics come from, since fermented dairy products are the environment in which a beneficial bacterial genus called Lactobacillus grows.
And, according to the California Dental Association (CDA), milk is even useful in a dental emergency.
Say you’re playing a nice summer sport - like football or frisbee - and an accidental hit from another player knocks out one of your teeth, root and all. What do you do?
The CDA recommends immersing that tooth in milk and getting yourself to an oral health expert pronto.
“Getting to the dentist as soon as possible is key to saving a knocked-out tooth,” says CDA president-elect Lindsey Robinson. “Often, if it’s within half an hour of the injury, it may be possible to re-implant the tooth.”
The Mayo Clinic agrees. It recommends rinsing a knocked-out tooth in tap water, putting in milk, salt water or even back in the socket, and then getting to an ER.
Why milk? Kimberly Harms, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, told CNN that it’s not the dairy, but the nearly neutral pH (and the moisture) that helps preserve the ligament hanging from the dental root.
Not bad. Given that fermented milk is also the spawning ground for Lactobacillus salivarius K12 - a microbe found in specialty oral care probiotics that helps reduce halitosis - we think we’ll give milk a free pass.
Even though milk breath smells really gross.