News & Perspectives

Save Your Gums with Calcium

Here’s another reason to consume at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day: It might save you from having to endure painful periodontal surgery for gum disease.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo reviewed data from nearly 13,000 adults and found that those with the lowest calcium intakes—or less than 500 mg per day--were twice as likely to have gum disease as those who consumed an adequate amount of the mineral. The relationship was especially strong for the 20 to 40-year-old set and for middle-aged men (Journal of Periodontology, 8/00).

Gum disease, or gingivitis, develops when bacteria accumulate in the pocket between the gums and teeth, causing an infection. The result may be red, swollen, tender, and bleeding gums; bad breath; or loss of teeth. People with extensive gum disease may even be at risk for both stroke and heart disease as well, earlier studies suggest. The authors of the current trial propose that calcium may help keep the jaw bone strong and better able to withstand infection.

Gum disease can be caused by a number of factors, including poor oral hygiene, a high-sugar diet, smoking, stress and diabetes. It may also run in families. Adding some extra calcium to your diet, along with regular flossing and brushing, may help reduce your chances of developing this all too common complaint.

Date Posted: 08/04/2000

Date Published: 08/03/2000
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