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Signs you might not be getting enough Calcium for your Teeth

When you think of how calcium helps the body thrive, you most likely think first of bone health. However, consuming high enough levels of this important mineral is just as vital for healthy, strong teeth. The teeth are made up of the same material as your bones, so require the same care and nurturing. While some risk factors for weaker teeth cannot be helped, such as age, gender or genetics, others can be mitigated against through assiduous oral health, regular dental checkups and a calcium-rich diet.

Calcium deficiencies are not always forefront of the mind when we think about ways to look after our body. However, long-term effects can be painful, severe and life limiting. Adding calcium to the diet is simple to do and highly effective. Read on for more information about calcium deficiencies, their symptoms and how to counteract them.

What causes calcium deficiency in the teeth?

Teeth are made up of a material known as crystalline calcium phosphate. It creates a protective layer over the nerves inside the tooth. The calcium in the teeth is constantly breaking down and being rebuilt by the body. The body can also store excess calcium to further protect this layer and help maintain healthy teeth.

Calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcaemia, occur when the body cannot rebuild mineral levels faster than they break down. Calcium levels in the blood drop to a dangerous level over time, unless treated. Post-menopausal women are at most risk of this happening, as the body finds it harder to replenish calcium as we grow older. As calcium deficiencies are not immediately obvious to start with, it can take time to discover their presence in the body. Your doctor can carry out a bone density test to detect what’s happening if you have concerns. This can help identify any problems quicker, so that you can start to replenish calcium in your body sooner, rather than later.

What are some of the symptoms of calcium deficiency?

It is important to keep an eye on symptoms like lower bone mass, more frequent bone fractures or teeth that get cavities in them more often, or chip more easily. At first, calcium deficiencies tend not to bring any noticeable symptoms with them. Prolonged calcium deficiency, however, can lead to conditions such as osteopenia (mild loss of bone density) and osteoporosis (when the loss becomes more serious).

These conditions causes the teeth and bones to grow thin, become brittle and more prone to breaking. It can also affect posture. Other long-term symptoms of calcium deficiency can include alterations to the brain (depression etc.), fatigue, and changes to the nails, hair, teeth, gums and jawbone. Some people can feel tingling or numbness around the mouth and finders, or unexplained muscle spasms and aches in the hands, arms, thighs, and feet.

Can Calcium Deficiency be Treated?

The good news is that a calcium deficiency can be reversed fairly simply through diet and targeted teeth health measures. If you are concerns about developing calcium deficiency, choose foods and drinks that have higher levels of calcium in them. Some examples include dairy products (milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt…), beans and pulses, broccoli, spinach, figs, tofu, soy milk, nuts and seeds. It is also present in fish where you also eat the bones, such as sardines.

In addition, calcium supplements are available over the counter in tablet form, as well as liquids, chews and powder. They can be obtained on prescription in the same way, or as injections. Always talk to your doctor before embarking upon any type of calcium supplementation regime. Improvements can usually be observed after just a few weeks on a calcium rich diet.

Calcium and Oral Health

Your dentist will be able to help you look for signs of calcium deficiency in the mouth. Keep up with your regular dental checkups to assist with this. Don’t forget to book in with the dental hygienist too. They can help remove any plaque build-up that can lead to cavities and spot any early signs of calcium deficiencies starting to take hold. Dental hygienists can also give general advice on oral health and maintaining strong teeth that will help them combat the effects of any bone thinning or loss due to calcium deficiency.

Switching to a calcium-fortified toothpaste in between dentist and dental hygienist visits can also help provide added protection. Brush with toothpaste at least twice a day. An electric toothbrush can often produce better results than standard brushes as it can reach deeper into the teeth and gums. Don’t forget to use mouthwash and floss for optimal oral health. These are all simple habits that can really help you maintain healthy teeth that are strengthened by calcium and protected against cavities well into older age.