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Strong teeth and bones are important for overall health. One important factor in keeping bones and teeth strong and healthy is calcium. Calcium is a mineral and is one of the most abundant in the body. It can also be found in certain foods and is added to others. Calcium is also added to vitamins and other dietary supplements as it is such an important mineral that the body needs.
Almost all of the calcium found in the human body is stored in the bones and teeth. In addition to strengthening teeth and bones, calcium is also important for the body’s blood vessels, muscles, and fluids. Calcium works to help blood vessels and muscles function properly.
Having enough calcium is important for people of all ages contrary to some beliefs. Babies and young children need calcium to develop strong teeth and bones while adults need calcium to maintain healthy teeth and a strong skeleton. Unfortunately, a large number of Americans do not get the amount of calcium that is recommended. Being deficient in calcium can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis, which causes the bones to weaken, making them break more easily.
Osteoporosis does not just affect bones, it can also affect teeth as it can cause the jaw bone to become weak. The jaw bone is basically an anchor for your teeth so if it becomes damaged, it is more likely that teeth will loosen and possibly fall out. Women in particular, are three times more likely to lose their teeth if they have osteoporosis than those with healthy bones.
Not everyone needs the same amount of calcium. The National Academy of Sciences recommends different dietary intakes based on gender and age. For instance children and pregnant women need more calcium than adults.
Recommended Calcium Intakes Based on Age*
- Babies 0-12 Months – 200mg-260mg
- Children 1-3 Years – 700mg
- Children 4-8 Years – 1,000mg
- Children & Teens 9-18 Years – 1,300mg
- Adults 19-71 Years – 1,000mg
- Adults 71+ Years – 1,200mg
*Exact calcium intake will vary based on sex, and for pregnant women. You can discuss your specific calcium intake needs with a qualified medical professional.
Along with osteoporosis, not getting enough calcium can increase your risk of periodontal disease. Studies have shown that people who do not have enough calcium in their diet are more than fifty percent more likely to develop gum disease than people who have enough calcium in their diet.
If it is determined that you need more calcium in your diet, there are certain foods you can consume that are rich in calcium. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are some of the best sources of calcium but there are other foods as well. Green, leafy vegetables contain calcium as well as foods such as cereal that have been fortified with calcium. Taking a daily multivitamin is also a good idea as most of them contain calcium.
In addition to eating foods that contain calcium, there are many other steps that can be taken to keep teeth healthy. Sugary snacks and drinks should be avoided as the sugar can eat away at the enamel on the teeth, potentially causing decay. It is also important to brush and floss regularly and schedule regular visits to the dentists to get your teeth cleaned and deal with any issues that may arise before they get worse.
- National Institutes of Health – Calcium Fact Sheet
- Keep That Smile! Calcium and Vitamin D Prevent Tooth Loss
- Keeping Your Bones and Teeth Strong for Life
- The Dental Health Center – A Tooth Friendly Diet
- Woodbridge Orthodontics
- Calcium is Needed for Strong Bones
- Eating to Protect Your Bones and Prevent Osteoporosis
- Calcium and Milk – What’s Best for Your Bones and Health
- Dentists in Woodbridge
- Oral Health and Bone Disease
- The Calcium Content of Common Foods
- The Healthiest Foods Rich in Calcium