When most people think of calcium, they often associate it with building super strong bones. While that’s certainly part of its benefits, the team at our dental office in Hagerstown also knows that calcium is crucial for a strong smile, too. But before you start diving in to a calcium-rich diet, consider some important facts to keep your body, and mouth, healthy.
Know How Much Calcium You Need
Your recommended level of calcium intake depends on your age and your gender. The following chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) shows just how much calcium each age group needs each and every day.
- 0-6 months = 200 mg for both males and females
- 7-12 months = 260 mg for both males and females
- 1-3 years = 700 mg for both males and females
- 4-8 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
- 9-18 years = 1,300 mg for both males and females
- 19-50 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
- 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
- 71+ years = 1,200 mg for both males and females
Too Much Calcium Is a Real Thing
While you should always try your best to get your recommended daily intake of calcium, there’s no need to go overboard. In fact, your Hagerstown dentist wants you to know that ingesting too much calcium can have adverse effects on your oral and overall health. Excess calcium can lead to gum disease, plaque deposits, and has even been studied to potentially increase the risk for heart disease. Just like most things in life, calcium is best in moderation. Make sure to follow the recommended amount for your age and gender.
Mix in Some Vitamin D
Even if you’re getting your recommended intake of calcium daily, it may not be enough to keep your bones and teeth strong. In order for calcium to be absorbed into the body properly, it needs an adequate amount of vitamin D, too. Your body needs both vitamin D and calcium to function, so read the nutrition labels on your food and provide yourself with a nice mix of the two.
Look Past the Dairy Aisle
The most common way to get calcium is to eat or drink dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. And while those are excellent sources of calcium, and usually vitamin D too, there are plenty of other non-dairy options to explore including:
- Orange juice
- Calcium-fortified cereal
Our Hagerstown dental office strives to keep our patients as healthy as possible, and not just their smiles. That’s why we encourage each and every one of them to eat well balanced meals and get enough calcium and vitamin D. That, along with maintaining bi-annual dental visits and brushing and flossing regularly, will help keep their smiles and bodies strong, for life.