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Calcium: Overview, Benefits, Required Amount, Sources, And Deficiency

Written by Danica Lacson on September 28, 2018

What is Calcium?

Calcium is an essential and most abundant mineral in the body which is needed to preserve bone strength and allow the proper communication of the brain and other body parts.

Calcium is necessary for optimal bone and oral health — to build and keep bones and teeth healthy. The chemical element also helps muscles, nerves, and cells to function correctly. It supports the function and synthesis of blood cells. It also regulates muscle contraction, nerve conduction, and blood clotting.

What is the required amount of Calcium I should get daily?

The stipulated minimum daily calcium is at 1, 000 milligrams a day for women ages 50 and below, and 1, 200 milligrams for women above 50 years old.

Consuming at least 800 milligrams of calcium a day decreases the likelihood of developing gum disease than those who take 500 milligrams or less of calcium.

But, a report from Harvard Women’s Health Watch said that the needed minimum daily calcium requirement is not as much as what people have come to believe and what the United States guidelines are saying.

Head of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition Dr. Walter Willett said that adults do not necessarily need 1, 200 milligrams of calcium a day and will do well with about half as much calcium.

According to Dr. Willett, the 1,200-mg recommendation lacked evidence to support the claim that such amount can prevent fractures. Dr. Willet added that the calcium balance studies, which was the basis of the recommendation, lasted only a few weeks, shorter than the years needed to determine calcium balance.

Instead of 1, 200 milligrams, Dr. Willet suggests about 500 to 700 milligrams which are the recommended amount by the World Health Organization and the United Kingdom respectively.

Where can I get Calcium?

Most foods like dairy products, seafood, vegetables, and fruits contain calcium including:

  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Fortified tofu
  • Seafood like sardines and salmon
  • Vegetables like broccoli, kale, green beans, and collards
  • Fruits like oranges
  • Almonds

What happens if I don't get the required amount of Calcium?

It can be problematic. Not receiving the right amount of calcium can lead to deterioration and weakening of the bones and teeth which use most of the body's calcium.

Low calcium can prevent children from reaching their full potential adult height. It lowers bone mass in adults that can lead to osteoporosis. It also increases the risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and jaw-joint problems.

Research found that those who take less calcium than what the body necessitates are more likely to develop gum diseases by 54 percent. Additionally, because of the weakening of the teeth, it can become more susceptible to tooth decay.

Getting the right amount of calcium is especially important for infants and toddlers who are still on the stage of developing their first set of teeth. Primary teeth, despite their eventual fall out, are vital for the development of the permanent or adult teeth as they serve as guide. If the children lose their primary teeth earlier than normal, they can suffer from spacing problems, as well as, chewing and speaking issues.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.


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