It’s no secret that our teeth, like any other bone in the body, require calcium to remain healthy and strong. This is because calcium combines with phosphorus to form hydroxyapatite, a mineral that plays a vital role in the formation of enamel and dentin.
When our bodies don’t have enough calcium we become very prone to oral hygiene problems like dental cavities and tooth decay. Thankfully, many solutions for calcium deficiency exist for most people, as well as those who suffer from lactose intolerance and other health complications.
What Is Calcium Deficiency?
Calcium deficiency disease, also known as hypocalcemia, is a medical condition that occurs when your blood doesn’t receive enough calcium needed to function properly. When this problem isn’t treated properly it usually leads to further health complications like osteoporosis, osteopenia, spasms, muscle cramps, and so on.
Hypocalcemia can also severely affect your teeth and gums. When you don’t include enough dairy in your diet, your body breaks down bone tissue even faster than usual, resulting in the loss of your jawbones and teeth.
You’re also more likely to suffer from serious gingivitis and other periodontal diseases when you suffer from hypocalcemia. Increased calcium intake helps your body reform stronger bone tissue, thus protecting your teeth from painful cavities and other oral hygiene problems. That being said, it is also important not to include too much sugar alongside calcium in your diet. Eating and drinking too many sugary foods can result in your teeth becoming prone to painful cavities due to harmful plaque and germs.
The Signs Of Calcium Deficiency
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the symptoms of hypocalcemia may include the following:
- Low appetite
- Numbness and tingling in the fingers
- Muscle cramps
- Abnormal heart rhythms
Doctors who need to confirm calcium deficiency in their patients usually do so through a blood test according to Healthline. This test measures the levels of total calcium, albumin (a protein that helps bind and transport calcium through the blood), and ionized calcium in your body. Not having enough levels of calcium in your blood (8.8 to 10.4 milligrams per deciliter for adults) is usually a good sign of hypocalcemia.
Causes Of Calcium Deficiency
Diet is usually known as the main cause of calcium deficiency for many people. Those who develop poor calcium consumption habits due to not eating a calcium-rich diet in childhood are very much at risk of developing serious oral and physical health complications.
Some medications don’t react well to calcium supplements. According to the NIH, these medicines can result in reduced calcium absorption:
- Fluoroquinolone and tetracycline classes of antibiotics
- Tiludronate disodium
- Thiazide-type diuretics
- Aluminum- and magnesium-containing antacids
- Mineral oil and stimulant laxatives
Treating Calcium Deficiency
Simply eating enough milk, yogurt, and cheese every day is an easy and effective way to stave off calcium deficiency. It’s also vital to include other sources of dairy in your diet, such as vegetables like kale, cabbage, and broccoli. Fortified grains and other foods like tofu, cereal, and oatmeal are also great sources of calcium. You can also increase your calcium intake by drinking fruit juice and other calcium-rich beverages.
Calcium supplements are another popular solution for those who suffer from lactose intolerance and other health problems. However, it’s important to consult your doctor first before you decide to take them. He will prescribe the dosage your body needs every day, as well as prescribe medications that aren’t likely to result in decreased calcium intake.
Another important precaution to take is increased magnesium intake. Magnesium keeps our tissues from absorbing too much calcium. It also ensures that the other parts of our body are able to utilize calcium well. It’s good to take an equal amount of magnesium alongside calcium to avoid serious complications.