How to Maintain Good Oral Health?By: Joyce Kahng, DDS •November 15, 2023
We all know how crucial calcium is for our bones, but did you know it also plays a significant role in our dental health? Calcium is essential in developing and maintaining strong teeth. It works by strengthening your tooth enamel, which is your first line of defense against cavities and tooth decay.
Now, the big question is, where do we get this tooth-protecting nutrient? Let’s explore the best sources of calcium for your teeth!
Calcium serves a critical role in dental health by contributing to the strength and integrity of tooth enamel. Enamel, the hard, protective outer layer of our teeth, is chiefly composed of calcium phosphate minerals. This tough layer shields the sensitive internal structures of the tooth from harmful bacteria and acids that can lead to decay.
When we consume calcium-rich foods, our body uses this essential mineral to replenish and reinforce the enamel, thus maintaining its strength and resilience against wear and tear.
A diet deficient in calcium can compromise the integrity of the tooth enamel, making it more vulnerable to decay and cavities. By ensuring an optimal intake of calcium, we can effectively support our body’s natural defense mechanism against dental diseases.
The recommended daily intake of calcium varies based on your age and gender.
Adults between 19 and 50 should aim for 1000mg/day, while women over 50 and men over 70 should aim for 1200mg/day. Calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, almonds, and leafy greens can help support bone health and maintain a bright smile. Make sure to get your daily dose of calcium for a healthy you!
Adding calcium-rich foods to your daily diet can be easy with a few simple tips. Here’s how you can get your daily dose of this vital nutrient:
Start your day with a calcium-packed breakfast:
Snack smart: Midday munchies can be an excellent opportunity to add more calcium to your diet. Snack on almonds, or enjoy some yogurt topped with chia seeds. Remember, every little bit adds up!
Make the most of your meals: Include a variety of calcium sources in your meals. For instance, a dinner of salmon served with a side of collard greens can be a fantastic way to end your day on a calcium-rich note.
Explore dairy substitutes: If you are lactose intolerant or follow a vegan diet, there are many calcium-rich non-dairy alternatives available. Almond milk, tofu, and fortified plant-based yogurts are all excellent options.
Remember, variety is the spice of life! Mix and match these strategies for a diet that’s not just calcium-rich but also diverse and enjoyable. Keep your teeth strong and your smile bright with these calcium-rich foods!
Let’s dive a little deeper into the incredible world of calcium-rich foods. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times – dairy is your best friend when it comes to getting a hefty dose of calcium. But did you know there are other star players in the calcium game as well?
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are the classic go-tos. A glass of milk in the morning, a sprinkle of cheese on your lunchtime salad, or a creamy yogurt for dessert – these are simple ways to integrate more dairy (and thus, more calcium!) into your meals.
Not a fan of dairy? Don’t worry! Nature’s got your back. Leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, and collard greens are packed with calcium. Plus, they bring a host of other nutrients to your plate. Talk about a win-win!
Almonds, in particular, are a brilliant source of calcium. Crunchy and delicious, they make the perfect snack. Or, you can add them to salads, oatmeal, or yogurt for that extra nutritional punch.
Remember, balance is key. A mix of dairy, greens, and nuts can ensure you are getting enough calcium while also keeping your meals exciting and delicious. Keep shining with your calcium-rich diet!
Vitamin D and Phosphorus are equally important to calcium in maintaining dental health. Vitamin D is paramount in calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Without sufficient Vitamin D, our bodies cannot effectively absorb calcium from the diet, which may lead to deficient enamel formation and increased susceptibility to tooth decay.
Sunlight exposure and foods like fatty fish, cheese, and egg yolks are all excellent sources of Vitamin D.
On the other hand, Phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in the human body, works synergistically with calcium to form the structure of our teeth and jaw. A diet rich in Phosphorus can help strengthen tooth enamel and promote overall dental health. Foods like meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and beans are high in Phosphorus.
In an ideal world, we’d get all the calcium we need from the food we eat. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fall short on our calcium intake. That’s when supplements come to the rescue!
Who might need a calcium boost?
There is a multitude of calcium supplements available on the market, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
This is the most common and least expensive type of calcium supplement. It contains 40% elemental calcium, the highest amount of any supplement. However, it requires stomach acid for absorption, so it’s best taken with meals. It can lead to potential digestive discomfort for some people.
This form contains 21% elemental calcium. Unlike calcium carbonate, it does not require stomach acid for absorption so it can be taken on an empty stomach. This makes it a better option for individuals with low stomach acid levels, such as the elderly or those on proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy. It’s more expensive, and people may need to take more of it to meet their calcium needs.
This type of calcium supplement is easily absorbed and doesn’t lead to as much calcium buildup in the blood. It’s a good choice for those with kidney conditions. This form is not as readily available as others and may be more expensive.
These contain a lower amount of elemental calcium (9% and 13%, respectively), but they are also well absorbed by the body. This means people may need to take more tablets to meet their needs, increasing the cost and potentially the inconvenience.
Remember, it’s essential to talk with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen. They can help you determine which type of supplement will best meet your needs and recommend the appropriate dosage.
Calcium supplements aren’t a substitute for a healthy diet. They’re a support act, not the main event! Always strive to get as much calcium as you can from your meals.
Choosing the right calcium supplement can seem a bit daunting with so many options available. But don’t fret. Armed with this knowledge, you’re now well-equipped to make an educated decision!
Remember, the key is to consider your individual health needs, consult with your healthcare provider and dentist, and aim for a diet rich in calcium first and foremost. So, whether you’re a busy bee, a golden ager, or someone managing a specific health condition, there’s a calcium supplement out there tailored just for you. Keep smiling, keep shining, and most importantly, keep your bones strong and healthy!
DOCTOR + FOUNDER