Why Should I Put a Knocked-Out Tooth in Milk?

Milk being poured into a glass

Although our dental office in Blue Bell is temporarily closed for elective procedures due to COVID-19, we’re still seeing patients for dental emergencies. One of the most common types of dental emergencies that happen is a knocked-out tooth. This can happen from any amount of excessive force hitting you in the mouth. Most patients have heard that if they knock out a tooth that they’re supposed to put it in a glass of milk, but what is the science of this?

Should I Put My Knocked-Out Tooth in Milk?

When you knock out a tooth, you’re most likely in a state of panic and pain. The last thing on your mind is a cup of milk. Once you calm down and apply gauze to the socket, look for your knocked-out tooth. Once you find it, carefully pick it up by the crown and rinse it off in water. Place it in a cup of milk to prevent the tooth from drying out.

The logic behind placing a knocked-out tooth in milk is quite simple. To start, the cells of the tooth root’s surface don’t swell up and then burst. This happens when you put the tooth in water. The milk also contains proteins that maintain the perfect pH balance in addition to substances with anti-bacterial effects and sugars to promote cell growth.

If you’re lactose intolerant or prefer to drink almond milk or another plant-based milk, don’t use these milk alternatives to keep your tooth wet. Instead, spit a lot of saliva into the container holding your tooth. Or, if you’re certain you won’t swallow your tooth, hold it in your cheek until you get to our dental office.

We recommend visiting us as soon as possible for a knocked-out tooth. After 30 minutes, the chances we can successfully replace the tooth diminish with each minute.

Tips to Prevent a Knocked-Out Tooth

Don’t put yourself through the pain and misery of a dental emergency. Take precautions to prevent a knocked-out tooth in the first place. If you play any sort of contact sports, make sure that you wear a mouthguard. You can also take precautions by not rough playing with anyone. Lastly, don’t use your teeth for anything but eating. You should not use your teeth to chew on ice, bones or stale bread. If it feels uncomfortable to bite, you probably shouldn’t do it

If you happen to knock out a tooth or experience any other dental emergency in Blue Bell, please contact Dr. Siegel at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell for an appointment at (610) 272-0828.