Here at P Vernon Erwin, we believe in a holistic model of dentistry and health. In order to maintain good oral health and high quality of life, it is important to fuel your body with all of the nutrition it needs. There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that contribute to the health of your teeth and bones. One of the most important of these is calcium.
The Benefits of Calcium
Calcium is a vital component in building strong teeth and bones. When you don’t consume enough calcium, your body begins to take the calcium it needs to function from your bones, which can put you at greater risk for injury or deterioration. In order to prevent this, you’ll want to incorporate a variety of calcium sources in your diet.
It is also important to remember that your body needs help from other minerals in order to fully absorb calcium. Calcium should be paired with both phosphorus and vitamin D for maximum health benefits. Most dairy products actually contain both calcium and phosphorus together, which is very convenient. Other sources of phosphorus include red meat, beans, lentils, nuts, and whole grains. The other vital component of calcium absorption, vitamin D, can be acquired by spending time in direct sunlight for a few minutes a day, or by consuming foods like eggs, cod liver oil, and foods fortified with vitamin D, like some breakfast cereals and juices.
The most widely known source of calcium is dairy. Calcium can be found in foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Dairy is a great source of calcium because it also contains phosphorus, so your body will be able to absorb the full nutritional value. Just make sure that you aren’t consuming too much sugar in your dairy products. Many yogurts and other products like chocolate milk contain enough sugar to damage your teeth, cancelling out the health benefits of the calcium and phosphorous.
If you are lactose intolerant, there are still plenty of options for you to get your calcium! One of the lesser known sources of calcium is actually seafood. Sardines and oysters both contain calcium. Sardines also contain vitamin D, which will help your body absorb the calcium. Canned salmon also includes calcium because of the bones. We know that doesn’t sound very appetizing, but the bones are softened enough to eat during the canning process. We promise you’ll barely notice them!
Vegan Sources of Calcium
If fish isn’t your thing either, there are lots of plant-based sources of calcium too! Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, collards, and bok choy are all great course of calcium. Almonds also contain calcium, so consider almond milk alternatives to dairy! Another easy way to get an extra boost of calcium is adding chia or sesame seeds to your meals, as they both contain this important mineral.
We hope this guide helps you on your oral health journey. If you are concerned that you are not consuming enough calcium, or want to know if supplements may be a good idea for you, consult with your regular physician. While supplements may be a great solution for some, it is important to remember that your body will also need other nutrients like vitamin D and phosphorus in order to process and absorb calcium. Be sure to include these in your diet for health and balance. If you are ready to take control of your oral health in a modern, holistic way, call our office today!