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The Truth About Calcium

Bone, Gum and Jaw Health: Chew on Some Calcium Everyday But Consider Adding in Estrogen !

Bone Health Depends on Calcium, and Estrogen!

Chew on these facts about the calcium you need and your overall health. Your hormone levels, your hormone fluctuations and your use of post menopausal hormones can all have a huge impact on your dental health including health of your gums, your teeth and your mouth!

To be healthy we also will remind women that calcium is necessary for bone health. Osteoporosis, the bone disease which is increased fragile bone specifically due to the loss of calcium. If too much calcium is lost in one's bone until the bone is weakened and at risk for fractures, is a fairly common disease. If you don't lay down enough bone in youth and young adulthood, you will never have bones as strong as they could be. So in youth you need good calcium, as well as a diet that will not block the calcium you are consuming. Taking calcium with soft drink may inactivate the calcium you have taken, so not together! But regardless of how excellent your calcium intake is and how strong your bones are: through genetics, or weight training or extra calcium; we inevitably lose bone as we age, regardless of our calcium intake. We will lose about 1/2% per year in our late 30s and 40s, by the time we are in menopause we begin to lose 4%/year, and in old age we still lose 2-4%/year. In menopause, the loss of estrogen is responsible for the frighteningly fast bone loss over those few years. Breastfeeding can cause a woman to lose 10% of her bone mass.

And too much calcium, is that possible? The answer is yes! In a study published in the BMJ in 2010, getting 600 to 1000 mg of calcium per day is healthy, but over 1400 mg per day, in older women led to heart attacks! Abnormally high calcium intake can also cause kidney stones. So remember girls, too much of a good thing, is not good.

Studying the effects of estrogen hormone therapy specifically used as a treatment for osteoporosis may also help prevent gum disease, according to newly published University at Buffalo research study that examined the prevalence of periodontitis in postmenopausal women.The study revealed that women over the age of 50 treated with estrogen specifically prescribed for bone health and to prevent the disease osteoporosis– are 44 percent less likely to have severe periodontitis than women who did not receive the treatment. Women begin a period of time in menopause of rapid bone thinning at the rate of 2-4% per year.

The lack of estrogen, a natural consequence of menopause, places women at risk of osteoporosis as they age. To counter these effects, most women are begun on osteoporosis therapy only after osteopenia sets in. However, many of us believe in preventative therapy, and the University of Buffalo researchers state that some women are prescribed estrogen therapy along with supplements of calcium and vitamin D. The way teeth are made, they are a bit stronger than some of the trabecular bone in our hips or wrist, yet teeth have their challenges!

We have 106 bones, and they all are susceptible, but the bone of our spine and hip seem to be among the most fragile. This is why we use DXA scans of our Bone Mineral Density to check on our bones. There is an old wives saying that "we lose a tooth for each pregnancy" and it reflects the fact that we pass a significant amount of our body's calcium to our developing fetuses and our breastfeeding babies. The 'chewing' in this story of calcium has to do with the bones of your teeth. Physicians have never believed that in truth we lose bone faster in our teeth or jaws than in other areas of the body. So a group of researchers from India lead by Annu Makker, PhD, set to find out if the jaw is a place of specifically high bone loss in some women. And it is true, the bones of our teeth (and sometimes the jaw) are the only bones not covered by tissue, so exposed to the harsh environment of whatever we put in our mouth to chew. Thus bones of the teeth and jaw do wear a bit faster than in other places of our skeleton as these researchers discovered.

Gum Health Was improved In Estrogen Users

The research examined nearly 500 postmenopausal women who received service at an osteoporosis diagnosis center in Brazil. The researchers found that women receiving estrogen for osteoporosis treatment had less periodontal probing depth , less space between teeth and surrounding tissue due to bone loss and less gum bleeding than those who did not receive therapy. Proper dental care, and proper brushing, along with a good diet low in the ability to produce inflammation also helps to prevent these conditions!

Women Always Have to Weigh the Risks and Benefits of Estrogen Therapy.

Despite the evidence of estrogen playing a significant role in maintaining healthy bones, hormone therapy also has been shown to cause adverse effects, such as increasing the risk of heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer in some populations of patients on some therapies. . Yet estrogen therapy can help sleep, moods, libido, reduce hot flashes, and even make your skin healthier! Check our menopause health guidebook and learn more about your bones!

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