Dental cleanings aren’t enough to keep your teeth healthy.
Thanks to the dairy industry and their ads for milk, everyone knows that calcium is a vital mineral needed for strong bones and teeth. And just about all the calcium you take in through food and supplements directly supports the hardness of your teeth and bones. Even if you get your two recommended dental cleanings each year, it’s not enough for strong, healthy teeth.
Ultimately, the strength of your teeth rests on getting sufficient calcium in your diet. When you see your Asheville dentist for your dental cleanings, talk about your calcium intake. He may suggest that you increase the amount you currently get. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements publishes a recommended daily dosage based on your age; your dentist knows you personally and may be able to add some insight.
The Calcium Chart
Like all governmental agencies, the NIH uses the most current information available. When the agency publishes guidelines for dietary needs, however, it tends to use the most conservative numbers. But following the chart below will ensure that you are at least getting the minimum amount of calcium you need for healthy teeth.
Age Recommended Daily Dose
Birth to 6 months 200 milligrams (mg)
Infants 7–12 months 260 mg
Children 1–3 years 700 mg
Children 4–8 years 1,000 mg
Children 9–13 years 1,300 mg
Teens 14–18 years 1,300 mg
Adults 19–50 years 1,000 mg
Adult men 51–70 years 1,000 mg
Adult women 51–70 years 1,200 mg
Adults 71 years and older 1,200 mg
Sources of Calcium
Calcium supplements are one way to make sure you get sufficient amounts of the important mineral. Older women and men prone to osteoporosis typically include calcium supplements in their daily intake. Calcium usually is contained in multi-vitamins as well. Ask your dentist when you go in for one of your dental cleanings to recommend a specific brand of calcium supplements.
There are also natural ways to get calcium every day through your diet. Foods that naturally contain calcium include:
- Canned sardines
Calcium is added to many prepared foods as well. Fortified cereal is a common food where you will find added calcium on the label. Fruit juice, soy products and rice beverages also are known to have added calcium. Check the label.
Keep Calcium in the Forefront
If you’re not sure you’re getting enough calcium, maintain a diary of foods you eat. Track the calcium and other important vitamins and minerals in your diet. Even when you’re cutting calories or watching your weight, it’s important not to skimp on the nutritional dosage you need for maximum health.
Supplements can help when your diet is not sufficient. You make time to go to your regular dental cleanings; you brush and floss daily. Taking good care of your teeth is important to you. So consider checking the amount of calcium you get as part of your daily dental practice.
—The Zöe Dental Team