A University of Leeds professor has confirmed that storing a tooth in milk after it has been knocked out could help to keep it alive and encourage successful reattachment later on. Professor Monty Duggal, head of paediatric dentistry at the University of Leeds, told The Daily Mail that ‘the most crucial thing for a knocked-out tooth – for both children and adults – is that it needs to go back into its socket as soon as possible.’
Prof. Duggal also said that the tooth could be saved with the correct storage and added that ‘if someone isn’t happy to put a tooth back into its socket, they should immediately put it in cow’s milk.’ He explained that this would keep the tooth alive until the patient can arrange dental care, saying ‘Milk – skimmed, semi or full fat – maintains the correct fluid balance in the root, helping it survive longer.’
It was suggested that a knocked-out tooth is the only ‘true’ dental emergency, and Prof. Duggal says that the tooth must be put back into the socket or it will be lost permanently. He also said that water should not be used to store the knocked-out teeth because this causes the cells in the root to swell and die. If there are no dental appointments available within the hour, patients should go to the local hospital for treatment.
Prof. Duggal said that ‘anything more than ten to fifteen minutes ‘dry time’ is very detrimental to the outcome, but if it’s put in milk within five minutes, the root’s cells can be preserved for up to an hour.’