VMagnesium deficiency is very common in the United States. Though anyone can become deficient, you are more likely to develop a deficiency if you have a gastrointestinal illness, are a diabetic, consume a lot of alcohol, or are an older adult. Magnesium deficiency has a whole array of consequences, from heart arrhythmias to fatigue, but it's also detrimental to dental health. Here's a closer look at magnesium's role in oral health and how you can ensure you're getting enough.
What does magnesium do for your teeth?
Even though your tooth enamel is mostly composed of calcium, it does contain some magnesium, too. These minerals need to be in the proper balance in order for your enamel to stay hard and resistant to decay. If you do not have enough magnesium in your diet, your enamel quality suffers, and you may find yourself developing more cavities. Magnesium also plays a role in immunity, so without enough of it, your body is less effective at fighting off the bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.
How much magnesium do you need?
The recommended magnesium intakes for adults are as follows:
Men ages 19 - 30: 400 mg
Men ages 31 and older: 420 mg
Women ages 19 - 30: 310 mg
Women ages 31 - 50: 320 mg
How do you know if you're getting enough magnesium?
A good way to assess your intake is to write down everything you eat for three days. Enter this information in a dietary assessment tool (there are many online), and see how your intake compares to the recommended intakes above. If you are not getting enough magnesium (and many adults are not), you know you must take steps to increase your intake in order to protect your teeth.
What are some good sources of magnesium?
If you need to increase your magnesium intake, try eating more nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, fish, and beans. All of these foods are very high in magnesium. Other magnesium-rich foods include brown rice, avocado, and bananas. You could also try taking a multivitamin that provides some magnesium. Make sure you buy from a reputable brand and only take the dose that's recommended on the label or package.
To learn more about how magnesium affects your oral health, talk to a dentist like Hughes Thomas R. They can also examine your teeth and let you know if they show signs of a decay that could be attributed to a magnesium deficiency.