Calcium Deficiency Teeth: Signs and Symptoms

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Calcium in Teeth and Bones

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, with 99% being found in the teeth and bones.  The International Journal of Scientific Research (IJSR) reports that in teeth, calcium is found as ‘hydroxyapatite’ which is made up of both calcium and phosphate. Calcium and phosphate combine during tooth development to characteristically form hard tooth structure.  Vitamin D plays a key role in balancing calcium and phosphate absorption in the body as well as calcium absorption in tooth development. In baby teeth, formation of hydroxyapatite (mineralization) occurs around four months in utero. In the permanent teeth this occurs from around the time of birth at birth until 13 years, including the 3rd molar (wisdom) teeth.

What is Calcium Deficiency?

Hypocalcemia, also known as calcium deficiency disease is a medical condition where calcium levels in the blood serum are low.

If calcium levels are too low, it can lead to osteoporosis (medical issue where the bones can become fragile from a deficiency of calcium or vitamin D, or hormonal changes) and osteopenia (medical issue where there is a decrease in bone density and it can be a precursor to developing osteoporosis).

In the United States, the recommended daily requirement for calcium intake for 14-18 years is

1300 mg, for 19-70 years is 1000 mg and for 71 years and older is 1200 mg.  People affected by calcium deficiency are post-menopausal women, women with amenorrhea, vegans, and people who are lactose intolerant.  Medical News Today reports that in 2015, 3.5 billion people were at risk for calcium deficiency globally.

Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency

Calcium deficiency symptoms may not be easily to detect at first, however symptoms may include:

·         Numbness around the mouth

·         Numbness in the hands or feet

·         Difficulty swallowing

·         Weak or brittle nails

·         Tooth decay

·         Difficulty swallowing

·         Depression

·         Osteoporosis symptoms (backpain, stooped posture)

Osteoporosis can affect the jawbone (alveolar bone) and cause the symptoms mentioned above such as tooth mobility and possibly tooth loss as well as ill-fitting dentures.

Diet and the Remineralization and Demineralization Process

What you eat is so important to help you maintain optimal calcium levels in your body and mouth.  Foods rich in calcium include:  milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines, salmon, kale, broccoli, spinach, calcium fortified juices, calcium-based foods, nuts, sesame seeds, fortified cereals and beans.  Eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods can help you get the level of calcium you need, and help to protect your teeth by maintaining optimal levels of calcium in your saliva.  

We need calcium in our saliva to drive the remineralisation of the teeth following acid challenges which result in the loss of minerals from the teeth (demineralisation).

We can minimise acid challenges by reducing the amount and frequency of sugary foods and drinks in our diets, and acidic drinks.

Good Dental Health

It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste that incorporates both calcium and phosphate like Colgate Enamel Health to replenish weakened enamel and help to strengthen enamel four times better.  Flossing once a day before bedtime will help to remove plaque and food debris between teeth and at the gumline.  Consult your doctor to check calcium levels and determine if calcium supplementation is needed to get you back to your healthy and best self.

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Tips for a Healthy Diet

  • Foods high in sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. Making these foods a treat rather than a staple will help protect your teeth.

  • To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups.

  • When choosing a snack, go for nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit.