Calcium: you know you need it for strong bones, but do you also need it to keep your teeth strong and clean? It turns out that, yes, you do!
Here’s some information on why your teeth crave calcium, and how this vital nutrient can help you maintain that beautiful smile.
Calcium Supplementation: Part of a Stellar Dental Care Routine
According to the National Institutes of Health, your bones and teeth are responsible for storing a whopping 99% of the total calcium within your body. And calcium may be able to help your teeth remain resistant to disease and decay, so getting enough of it through diet and supplementation is an important step on the road to strengthening and repairing your pearly whites.
Other nutrients, such as magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamin D, could also support calcium’s job of protecting your teeth, reinforcing your enamel, and warding off cavities. Thankfully, these nutrients are easy to come by, not only through supplementation but also through a diet focused on natural, whole food ingredients like veggies and fruits.
Quick Tip: Some of the top food sources of calcium include leafy greens, dairy products, and calcium-fortified treats like cereals and juices. Yum!
The Perfect Pair: Calcium and Vitamin D
Research has shown that supplementing with both calcium and vitamin D may help to prevent bone loss, as well as help prevent tooth loss. The combination of at-home dental hygiene, routine dental exams and cleanings, and supplementation might be just what you need to hold onto your chompers as you get older.
Here’s what one study proved: older individuals who took 700 IU of vitamin D with 500 mg of calcium every day for three years were 40% less likely to lose one or more of their teeth compared to those who took a placebo.
What’s vitamin D got to do with it? It enhances the absorption of calcium by your body. So when you take calcium and vitamin D together, you can help all of your bones, including your jawbone, stay strong, and that could help your teeth remain strong too!
Calcium, Osteoporosis, and Tooth Loss: Oh My!
Here is another stunning fact: osteoporosis might cause your jawbone to become weak. Once your jawbone, which serves as an anchor for your teeth, becomes too weak, the risk of your teeth becoming loose and falling out increases. And women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis could be three times more likely to lose their teeth. Scary!
No need to feel helpless, though! Once again, it is all about the calcium. A diet deficient in this mineral could boost your risk of getting osteoporosis, so making it a point to get enough calcium might help to prevent problems before they even take hold. Calcium for the win!
Pregnant? Help Your Baby Develop Strong Teeth and Bones
Even though your baby’s first tooth will wait a few months before making its first appearance, your child’s teeth will actually start to form while still in the womb. So if you are pregnant, you can help ensure your little one gets plenty of nutrients, including calcium, to develop strong bones and teeth.
Experts generally recommend a daily intake of 1,000-1,300 mg of calcium, but it is a great idea to speak with your doctor to determine the specific amount that you should be getting (everyone is unique, after all). Then, after your baby is born, you can continue feeding him or her a calcium-rich diet that will keep supporting proper growth and development.
So How Much Calcium Should You Aim to Get?
Studies have shown that individuals who get more than 800 mg of calcium daily have a reduced risk of developing gum disease, while individuals who consume under 500 mg daily are 54% more likely to end up with gum disease. Wow!
Getting enough calcium every day isn’t too hard to achieve with the right combo of diet and supplementation. However, the amount of calcium that your body needs will depend upon your age, as well as any conditions that you have. That’s why talking to your doctor will give you the personalized advice that you need regarding how many milligrams of calcium will be optimal for your overall health, including your dental health.
General guidelines when it comes to calcium intake:
- Older adults will need at least 1,200 mg per day
- Adults, as well as mothers who are nursing, should aim for 1,000 mg per day
- Older kids and teens up to the age of 18 will need 1,300 mg per day
- Kids aged 1 to 8 should get 500-800 mg per day
Maintaining Healthy Teeth: More Than Just Brushing and Flossing
In the end, brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist for exams and cleanings are just part of the equation for a shiny, strong smile. Eating a balanced diet and taking high quality calcium supplements are additional steps that you can take to help support the health of your teeth as you age.