In dentistry calcium is the chemical element that is needed for healthy teeth bones and nerves. Calcium chemical symbol Ca plays a very important role in building healthy teeth and bones as well as in our nervous system because it is required for normal communication between nerve cells. It ensures that our muscles contract and that our hearts beat.

Calcium is the major mineral found in our bones and teeth and along with phosphorus and other nutrients calcium builds the hard structure that makes bones and teeth strong. We also need calcium for proper muscle and nerve function blood clotting and other body processes. A high intake of dietary calcium in childhood is associated with healthy adult bones and dentists and dieticians recommend that children get calcium through a balanced diet. A lack of calcium can lead to brittle fingernails headaches irritability tooth decay and most importantly.

Osteoporosis a condition that causes bones to become brittle and can lead to increased risk of hip and vertebra fractures and spinal deformities leading to the loss of height. Osteoporosis occurs because the lack of calcium causes the body to take calcium from bone leading to the bones becoming weak.

There are many natural sources of calcium. Dairy foods such as milk cheese and yogurt are the most abundant source of natural dietary calcium. Other good sources of calcium can be found in the various food groups summarized below.

ᄋ Dairy: milk (skim or 1%) low-fat and fat-free yogurts low-.fat and fat-free cheeses

ᄋ Meats/Beans: sardines/salmon with bones calcium-set tofu

ᄋ Fruits/Vegetables: collard greens broccoli calcium-fortified orange juice

ᄋ Grains: pancakes calcium-fortified breads and cereals

ᄋ Combination Foods: cheese pizza (made with reduced-fat cheese) soups prepared with skim milk

Having plenty of calcium in the diet along with plenty of fruit and vegetables can lower blood pressure as well as some prescription drugs as well as reducing the chance of colon cancer by limiting the irritating effects of bile acid in the colon. Too much calcium in a diet however can lead to problems such as constipation and kidney stones.

The recommended daily intake of calcium varies from children to adults. For children aged 1-3 the recommended amount of calcium is 500mg/day. This level increases to 800mg/day from ages 4-8 all the way up to 1300mg/day for teenagers. The amount recommended for adults is less than teenagers as the teeth and bones are almost fully formed at this stage of life and is around the 1000mg/day mark. Pregnant woman are advised to ingest 1100mg/day.

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