Is Your Family Getting Enough Calcium?
Calcium is most commonly noted as being a crucial mineral for strong bone development. However, at our dental office in Lawrenceville we also know that calcium is an essential part of building strong and healthy teeth. But just how much calcium does your family need?
The Importance of Calcium
Before we dive into how much calcium each member of your family needs, let’s take a quick look at why a steady intake of it is important. Our bodies need calcium in order to function properly, and our systems will pull what they need out of what we have in our bones. In fact, the calcium found in bones and teeth is repeatedly removed, and it needs to be replaced. This is where eating a diet high in calcium helps replenish what’s lost. This is particularly important in young children when bones are developing and growing, and for older adults.
Calcium Doesn’t Stand Alone
We wouldn’t be giving you great advice if we didn’t tell you that a solid calcium intake is only half the battle. In order for the calcium to be absorbed and aid in tooth and bone development and strength, it needs vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin, meaning your body relies on it to function. Make sure your family isn’t only eating a diet rich in calcium, but also vitamin D. Some foods that can help increase levels of vitamin D include:
- Dairy products
- Egg Yolks
- Fish such as salmon and herring
How Much Calcium is Enough?
The appropriate amount of calcium varies depending on age and gender. Here are the recommended daily doses according to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB).
- 0-6 months = 200 mg
- 7-12 months = 260 mg
- 1-3 years = 700 mg
- 4-8 years = 1,000 mg
- 9-18 years = 1,300 mg
- 19-50 years = 1,000 mg
- 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
- 71+ years = 1,200 mg
Foods High in Calcium
When looking for calcium-rich foods, your Lawrenceville dentist wants you to consider going outside of the dairy aisle. There are plenty of non-dairy foods that pack a mean calcium punch including:
- Orange juice
- Calcium-fortified cereal
Remember, besides eating a diet high in calcium, it’s also important to eat a variety of food groups at every meal.
At our Lawrenceville dental office, we’re in the business of taking care of your family’s smiles. One way to ensure a lifetime of strong, beautiful teeth is to get the recommended daily amount of vitamin D and calcium. And of course, we always recommend proper brushing and regular dental visits.
Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month to raise awareness on the importance of eating a healthy diet for overall health. At our dental office in Lawrenceville, we want to do our part and take this opportunity to also share the oral health benefits of eating a well-balanced diet.
Nutrition Can Be Confusing
While we know the basics to eating well include things such as avoiding too much fast food and eating more vegetables, the ins and outs to really optimizing your nutrition can get convoluted and confusing. Things have changed from the days of the Food Guide Pyramid released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992. In fact, they’ve changed twice. Currently, the USDA recommends following the MyPlate recommendations for dietary guidelines. However, it’s still not quite that simple. The MyPlate model is individualized based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. So proper nutrition isn’t so clearly defined anymore. Head on over to the MyPlate Checklist to find your ideal balance, but essentially a lot of the basics still stand, including eating plenty of:
- Whole Grains
- Lean Proteins
What Does This Have to do with Your Mouth?
Following a well-balanced diet has been proven to keep you healthy and help protect your body from serious diseases. It turns out, what you eat also affects the health of your mouth, too. If you choose nutrient-rich foods and follow your MyPlate recommendations, you’re taking steps to keep your oral health in great shape. However, if your diet is poor, you’re putting your mouth at increased risk for dental problems.
Your dentist in Lawrenceville really doesn’t like sugar, and with good reason. This sweet stuff can wreak havoc on your teeth. When sugar is introduced to the mouth, acid levels surge. It’s this acid that attacks tooth enamel, wearing it down and leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay and cavities. A reduction in enamel may also increase tooth sensitivity or give teeth a dark, dull appearance.
But Wait, There’s More!
Although sugar tends to get all of the attention when it comes to talking about food and oral health, there are hidden sugars you should be aware of. Carbohydrates, while not typically sweet in taste, break down into simple sugars as we eat them. These sugars are just as dangerous as the stuff found in sugar-packed treats. Try to get into the habit of reading nutrition labels to reduce both your sugar and carbohydrate intake, as well as your fat, cholesterol, and sodium consumption.
Our Lawrenceville dental office prides ourselves as being active members of your healthcare team, and we’re to help get you healthy any way we can. Schedule your appointment with us today.