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    April 07, 2011

    Do I need calcium for strong teeth?


    Calcium and Your Teeth

    Most people know that having a diet rich in calcium is important for a growing child. By including milk, cheese, green and leafy vegetables, and yoghurt in the diet of our children, we supply the body with adequate amounts of calcium to produce healthy strong bones and teeth.

    The baby (deciduous) teeth are mineralising from early on in pregnancy, which means that the pregnant woman’s diet should also be rich in calcium. The crowns of adult teeth mineralise from birth until at least 2 years old (the wisdom teeth will take longer), so plenty of calcium and fluoride at this time is important to lay down the enamel matrix, which makes our teeth stronger and more resistant to decay.

    As an aside, the incorporation of fluoride throughout the enamel at this point makes it stronger than incorporation of calcium alone.

    Once the enamel has formed and has erupted into our mouths, then the surface exchange of calcium and phosphates occurs. This can soften the surface of the tooth. Oral environments which are acidic (See articles about Tooth Erosion) will cause the calcium and phosphate to dissolve from the tooth surface no matter how much calcium is in your diet. Having said that though, there must be some calcium intake available or the dissolution will be even more rapid.

    Milk products are rich in calcium, but they also contain a lot of natural sugars which can increase our risk of dental decay. This means that care should be taken with children with when and how milk products are provided. By this, I mean no night time milk bottles and no sipping of milk products during the day.

    We are now able to encourage the incorporation of calcium and fluoride through the use of products, such as GC Tooth Mousse Plus,and Recaldent chewing gum which actively replace the minerals in the tooth surface without the high decay risk. We recommend GC Tooth Mousse for both adults and children.

    Some studies have shown that in adults a diet deficient in calcium can encourage progression of periodontal disease. The causal link is weak, however, it is still there, and care should be taken to ensure that your diet is not deficient in calcium.

    Calcium is very important in the infant years for correct development of our teeth and bones, and we should consider how we incorporate it into our diet. In adults, the need for calcium is reduced as they are no longer growing  and it would be unusual if a normal Western diet did not provide enough calcium under ordinary circumstances. If, however, you have an acidic oral environment or diet, then the use of GC Tooth Mousse Plus will help reduce enamel dissolution and lower your caries risk.

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