In honor of National Milk Day, we thought it appropriate to talk about calcium and how important it is to your overall oral health, gums and teeth, and preventing diseases. But first, what is National Milk Day?
National Milk Day
Celebrated on January 11, National Milk Day signifies the day the very first glass milk bottles were delivered in the United States, starting in 1878. Interesting facts you may not know about milk:
- The US is one of the largest exporters of milk and milk products.
- Around the world, more than 6 billion people consumer milk and milk products.
- To celebrate #NationalMilkDay, drink a big glass of milk! (Unless, you are Lactose Intolerant, then drink soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk. We don’t want to make anyone sick).
Ok, now that we have that covered. Let’s talk about the benefits of milk, or more importantly calcium in our diet.
Calcium Benefits and Oral Health
“Calcium is important to your diet for a number of reasons, but most important to us, it helps build strong bones and teeth,” says Dr. Espinosa. Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency may be the biggest culprits in tooth loss.
Your body does not create calcium on its own. So if you’re not getting enough, your body will take it from your bones and teeth. Not getting enough may lead to Osteoporosis, tooth decay, muscle tension and high blood pressure, just to name a few.
According to the National Institute of Health, “99 percent of the body’s calcium reserves are stored in the bones and teeth.” So, if you’re not fueling our body with calcium, it’s stealing it from those beautiful pearly whites, making them weak and susceptible to tooth decay. This is why it’s so important to pack your diet with calcium rich foods.
Foods Rich in Calcium
Milk and other dairy products, are only a few examples out of a number of fully loaded calcium sources. In fact, there are foods even richer in calcium that may be better for those who are Lactose Intolerant. Here are some examples:
- Kale, and other leafy green vegetables, like spinach, Swiss chard, lettuces, collards, broccoli and turnip greens pack more calcium than a cup of milk.
- Bok Choy, Okra and Mustard greens have even more calcium content than leafy green vegetables. You can get over 100mgs per 1 cup serving of these.
- Watercress, added to your eggs or in a salad, has 4 times the calcium of milk and 6 times that of magnesium.
- Sardines have 30% of your daily calcium needs, and are the healthiest fish to have as a snack.
- Raw almonds are not only rich in calcium, but also a great source of protein. We suggest snacking on these throughout the day, and adding to your smoothies or salads!
- Fresh cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, yogurt, oh my! We do love ourselves some dairy. Add cheese to your leafy greens, and almond snacks, and you will complete your daily dose of calcium quickly.
When preparing your meals, think the highest calcium content will be in the leafy greens and raw almonds. You thought it would be in dairy, huh? It’s important to not overindulge, eat dairy in moderation, as it contains more fat content than the alternative suggestions.
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
In studies of calcium intake and gum disease, the participants with the healthiest teeth consumed more than 800 mg of calcium each day. At the same time, those who consumed less than 500 mg of the mineral each day were 54 percent more likely to develop gum disease, per the American Dietetic Association.
To ensure that 95 percent of the population gets this much calcium, the National Academy of Sciences established the following recommended intake levels:
- 1,000 milligrams/day for those age 19 to 50
- 1,200 milligrams/day for those age 50 or over
- 1,000 milligrams/day for pregnant or lactating adult women
*Please note, women need more calcium depending on different stages in their lives. We suggest consulting with your doctor or dietician, to ensure you’re getting the correct amount for your body.
It is important to us, at Bonita Del Rey Dental Care, to keep you well informed. If you have any questions, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation or second opinion.
Tell us what you think! Did you enjoy reading this blog article, or do you have suggestions for more? We love hearing from our patients, so let us know by simply leaving a note in the comment section below. Also, if you found this article interesting, you may also enjoy these:
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When was your last visit to the dentist? It’s recommended to have routine dental check-ups every six months, or sooner depending on your oral health history. Have you scheduled your routine visit? Read more.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Did you know an estimated 3 out of 4 American adults have gingivitis? This is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be treated. Find out how, read more.
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