Moral of the story: Drink milk!
Researchers at Boston University Dental School and Tufts University Nutrition Research Center have found that calcium and vitamin D have an affect on tooth health. Lead researcher, Dr. Elizabeth Krall, says that while “studies have shown calcium and vitamin D decrease bone loss,” it’s only now that “we know that supplementation may also improve tooth retention, along with routine dental care.” Calcium is needed for proper bone health, but vitamin D is also essential in improving the body’s absorption of calcium.
In the study, participants were given 500mg of calcium with 700 units of vitamin D per day for three years. Teeth were examined many times during the three years and after the testing period ended. When compared to the group given just a placebo, the calcium vitamin D participants had 40% less tooth loss, even after two years post-study. They also found fewer cavities!
Calcium is especially important in older adults. According to Dr. Chris Rosenbloom, nutrition professor at Georgia State University, “it’s hard to get enough calcium through diet alone.” This is why supplements could be a game changer, and you should make sure you start taking them as soon as possible. The ADA notes that older adults get more cavities than even teenagers—most likely because age deteriorates our teeth surfaces, and some prescription drugs can also cause adverse effects. While it is clearly essential to get enough calcium and vitamin D every day, it’s also important to not overdose. The recommended values for adults are no more than 2,500 mg/day for calcium and 1,000 units of vitamin D/day. Make sure your supplements are USP (United States Pharmacopeia) verified! And of course, if you have any questions, ask your dentist.