The importance of calcium to dental health

Calcium is an important mineral which people of all ages need for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It’s one of the most abundant minerals in the body, but your body can’t make it, so you must get it from your diet.

Calcium has several functions within your body, including helping your blood to coagulate (clot) and working with magnesium for muscle contraction and to regulate the heartbeat. However, it’s most known for being the mineral which makes up your bones and tooth enamel- which is the hard, protective outer layer on your teeth. 99% of your body’s calcium is found in the bones and teeth.

If you got plenty of calcium from your diet growing up, chances are you’ll have developed strong and healthy adult teeth. However, getting enough calcium isn’t just for kids. The calcium in your teeth is constantly being used and replenished by the body, so your calcium levels can become low at any time in your life if you’re not getting enough of this essential mineral. Your teeth and bones can store calcium for use when its reserves are low, but to keep providing your teeth and bones with calcium your body needs a steady intake. This is why it’s important to keep your calcium levels topped up at all times.

Calcium deficiency might not show up in teeth at first, but over time it can lead to tooth loss. Symptoms of low calcium levels include muscle cramps, fatigue, weak and brittle nails and tooth problems such as loose teeth and enamel loss.

Calcium can be found in dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt, brown rice, tofu, nuts and seeds, cabbage, watercress, beans, broccoli, and fish with soft, edible bones such as sardines. Calcium and vitamin D together have been shown to reduce tooth loss in the elderly,1 so if you’re worried about the strength of your teeth, get plenty of sunshine if possible and consider taking a vitamin D supplement of 10mcg per day, as recommended by NHS guidelines.2

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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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Sources

  1. [Online] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11690570.
  2. [Online] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/.

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Dental Health