Reprinted from the American Academy of Periodontology website.
Adults consuming at least three servings of calcium each day have a reason to smile. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that people who get enough calcium have significantly lower rates of periodontal disease, a leading cause of tooth loss. That's because periodontal disease isn't only about gum tissue. The tooth's health depends upon the integrity of the bone holding the tooth in place.
Researchers found that people who intake less than 500 milligrams of calcium, or about half the recommended dietary allowance, were almost twice as likely to have periodontal disease, as measured by the loss of attachment of the gums from the teeth.
The association was particularly evident for people in their 20s and 30s. The relationship between calcium and periodontal disease is likely due to calcium's role in building density in the bone that supports the teeth.
Calcium alone can't prevent or cure periodontal disease, but it's an important part of an overall prevention or treatment program. Unfortunately, national surveys have shown that many Americans are not consuming enough calcium, and many women consume less than half of the recommended daily amount of calcium. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, women have less bone tissue and lose it more rapidly than men because of the changes involved in menopause.
It's important for women to eat calcium-rich foods and to speak to their healthcare providers about obtaining the proper amount of calcium. This way you can take an active role in helping your smile last a lifetime.