Low Calcium Linked to Tooth Loss in Men

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Calcium is required to help make collagen into hard structures like bones and teeth.  An 11 year study followed 1602 adults ages 30 – 60 and found that low calcium intake1 was associated with fewer teeth in both men and women.  A 511 patient subset of the data showed that men were especially vulnerable to the rate of tooth loss when their calcium levels were low (70% increased risk).

Men are typically not as concerned about women with their calcium intake as their bones are generally larger and less likely to develop osteoporosis.  That assumption is itself misguided, since the vitality of bone health is now recognized as a major contributor to overall metabolic health. 

This new study may help men ensure an adequate calcium status as it demonstrates that their teeth may be the weak link in their calcium chain.  Part of the study looked at overall number of teeth (1-25 vs. 26-32).  If a person had low calcium intake then the odds of having fewer than 26 teeth increased to 57% for men and 44% for women.

A subset of the patients also had data regarding the rate of tooth loss during the study.  This data showed a 70% increased rate of tooth loss for men who were low in calcium.  This is a clear sign for men that if they are low in calcium they will eventually reach a point in their life wherein they start losing teeth at an alarming rate.

I should point out that deteriorating oral health is also associated with infection-related gum problems that not only interfere with metabolism (causing blood sugar and cholesterol to rise) but also increase the stickiness of platelets which thereby increases the risk for stroke.

Keeping your teeth in place and your gums healthy has health benefits far beyond oral health (which is also important).

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Low Calcium and Tooth Loss  Journal of Nutrition  Amanda R. A. Adegboye, Nils-Erik Fiehn, Svante Twetman, Lisa B. Christensen and Berit L. Heitmann.

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