A nutritious diet is essential for a healthy body, but did you know the foods you eat can also affect your smile? Your teeth are protected by the hardest substance in your body. Your enamel is stronger than some metals and is largely made of calcium, which is the most abundant mineral in your body. 99% of calcium is stored in your teeth and bones from the foods you consume. Unfortunately, half of the world’s population suffers from calcium deficiency, which can cause weak bones and teeth. Here’s how to ensure you’re getting enough calcium to keep your pearly whites strong and healthy.
Recommended Daily Calcium Intake
The Institutes of Health recommend adults between the ages of 19 and 50 consume 1,000 mg of calcium daily to prevent bone and enamel loss. Your enamel protects your softer dentin and pulp underneath. Although it is incredibly strong, enamel cannot regenerate. It is under constant attack by cavity-causing bacteria that can erode your enamel until a cavity forms. Once your enamel is gone, it won’t grow back, and no amount of brushing will make the cavity go away.
Your risk of cavities can increase with age from various health issues that can affect calcium levels, like diet restrictions or osteoporosis. You can keep your mouth and body protected by ensuring you’re getting enough calcium.
6 Foods High in Calcium
It’s best to include natural sources of calcium in your diet, as well as products fortified with the mineral, like:
- Milk: 1 cup of milk provides 200 mg of calcium, which is about 20% of your daily value.
- Cheese: Parmesan, Romano, and goat cheese are amazing sources of calcium.
- Yogurt: Low-fat yogurt contains about 296 mg of calcium, equivalent to 30% of your daily value.
- Canned Fish: A can of sardines contains 351 mg of calcium and canned salmon provides 202 mg.
- Dark Leafy Greens: Collard greens, spinach, and other dark leafy greens are excellent sources of calcium.
- Seeds and Nuts: Poppy seeds offer 127 mg of calcium per tablespoon. Almonds provide 75 mg of calcium per ounce.
Besides upping your calcium intake, limit sugars and starches to reduce your risk of decay. Commit to brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush. Floss at least once per day. Don’t forget to visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup to keep your mouth healthy.
About Dr. Leslie Metzger
Dr. Metzger earned her dental degree from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and has continued her education in advanced studies. She is a member of the American Dental Association and the Michigan Dental Association. Request an appointment through her website or call (248) 939-5265.