While it might be common knowledge on how to properly care for your teeth and gums through daily hygiene routines, brushing and flossing daily are not the only factors in having a healthy smile. If your body is low on necessary nutrients and minerals, whether due to a poor diet choices or a genetic disposition, you will likely see the evidence in your teeth and/or gums. A healthy smile is often evidence of a healthy body, and even issues that might seem minor, like a calcium deficiency, can be the cause of serious oral discomfort or even infection.
Why Does Calcium Affect Teeth?
The human body maintains a high amount of calcium in order to work properly. Because our bodies do not naturally produce calcium, we must rely on our diet in order to get what our bodies need. Almost all of the calcium you take in is stored in your bones and teeth, so if you become calcium deficient, your body will start to pull the stored calcium from your teeth and bones. Without the proper amount of calcium, bones and teeth become weak and brittle, which in-turn causes a multitude of illnesses such as osteoporosis, tooth decay, and more.
High Calcium Foods
Because our bodies do not produce the calcium it needs to function properly, it is important to be intentional about consuming foods with calcium or taking supplements. The average adult should consume about 1000 mgs of calcium a day, with it rising to 1200 mgs for those over the age of 70, and 1300 mgs for teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in calcium. Beans, lentils, seeds, almonds, and dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are also high in protein. Being intentional with your diet and incorporating these food types often should allow you to consume your needed amount of calcium.
Other Side Affects
Unfortunately, when your body tries to run without the appropriate amount of calcium, your bones and teeth are not the only aspects to suffer. Low calcium has been known to be associated with a wide range of symptoms including
- Muscle cramping and spasms
- Numbness and tingling in hands, legs, arms, or feet
- Fatigue or sluggishness
- Painful Premenstrual Syndrome
Different conditions or habits, as well as some medications, cause people to have a higher likelihood of a calcium deficiency. Many antibiotics, anti seizure medications, and stomach acid treatments can decrease your body’s calcium absorption. People who suffer from kidney or thyroid issues also run the risk of a calcium deficiency. The largest group that is most at risk is women during and after menopause because the body doesn’t produce as much estrogen in these stages. With the down turn in estrogen, calcium absorption is lowered, which causes weakened bones and a high risk of osteoporosis in women over the age of 50. Vegans and those with a dairy intolerance are also at risk for calcium deficiency, and these groups should rely on sources from those leafy greens, beans, and nuts to stay on track and stay healthy!