Calcium and vitamin D are not only important for your body, but play vital roles in supporting the health of your smile. But do you know exactly how much they influence your oral health, and in what ways? Here, we review just a few of the key roles of calcium and vitamin D, as well as some general guidelines for the daily amounts you should be getting for optimal tooth and gum health!
Calcium Supports Healthy Jawbone
The bone in your jaw helps support your teeth and is called alveolar bone. Calcium is a mineral that helps support healthy alveolar bone (and healthy bones in general), which, in turn, supports your teeth and helps to keep them strong in your jaw .
Lack of calcium has been linked to both bone and tooth loss. Women who have gone through menopause may be more at risk to experience a calcium deficiency, and certain medications can also affect calcium absorption. A simple blood test can tell if you’re getting enough calcium in your diet!
Vitamin D Affects Tooth Health and Oral Disease
Low vitamin D has been shown to impact oral health . This essential vitamin affects tooth remineralization, which helps keep teeth strong to resist decay. Without enough vitamin D, the body may not have the same ability to protect tooth enamel, which could lead to an increased risk for cavities and tooth sensitivity.
Vitamin D also affects bone mineral density, as it works with calcium to keep teeth and bones strong. In addition, lacking vitamin D could increase your risk of developing periodontal disease, better known as gum disease . Vitamin D also plays a role in the immune system, and may enhance the body’s ability to resist infection, which could be why people with low vitamin D may be more at risk for gum disease.
How Much Calcium and Vitamin D Should You Get?
Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is common around the world, and certain adults are also susceptible to calcium deficiency as we’ve seen. So how much calcium and vitamin D should you get to support healthy teeth and gums?
You should always consult with your doctor about specific amounts, but generally, adults (both men and women) should get about 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day, ideally from food .
If you have a calcium deficiency, your doctor may recommend certain supplements.
The amount of vitamin D you need will vary individually, but generally, adults should get about 600 IU of vitamin D. Your body makes vitamin D from sunlight exposure, but you can also get it from certain foods including fish, mushrooms, and milk (including fortified plant-based milks).
It’s no secret that your diet impacts your smile—and vitamin D and calcium are two of the central players when it comes to keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. Are you getting enough calcium and vitamin D? Find out from a blood test, and schedule a checkup with your dentist to learn how healthy your smile is!