Calcium and milk go hand in hand like fluoride and toothpaste. You can’t find milk without it, and for a lot of us, milk makes up a large portion of our calcium intake. But what about those of us who can’t have dairy? How can we get calcium if we are lactose intolerant?
How Calcium Benefits Your Oral Health
Calcium helps strengthen our teeth and jawbone and also helps maintain the health of our bones throughout our body. Surprisingly, calcium is also necessary for the proper function of the other muscular components of our mouth. The nerves, blood vessels, and muscles all rely on calcium to some degree.
How Much Calcium Do We Need?
To a large degree, the amount of calcium we need depends on our age, size, and gender. Some people need over 1300 mg of calcium while children can get away with about 700 mg. However, if you consume less than 500 mg of calcium, it puts you at a greater risk of gum disease. Unfortunately, most people actually don’t get in their daily recommended dose of calcium on a regular basis.
Non-Dairy Calcium Sources
- Canned fish with bones – The bones of small, canned fish are small enough to eat and are an excellent source of calcium!
- Dark leafy green vegetables – This includes spinach, kale, and collard greens.
- Calcium-fortified drinks – Fortified orange juice is a good source of calcium as well as vitamin C.
- Tofu – Most tofu has beneficial added calcium!
- Almonds – Almonds have more calcium than any other type of nut!
- Dried figs – Figs have a sweet, indulgent flavor and eating a half cup of them would really feel like a treat.
These foods can add variety to your diet if you are looking for a little boost in your calcium intake without giving you the bad side effects of lactose. Figs, almonds, and leafy greens are very different but give many similar benefits when it comes to keeping gum disease at bay.