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foods with calciumCalcium is most commonly noted as being a crucial mineral for strong bone development. However, at our pediatric dental office in Long Island we also know that calcium is an essential part of building strong and healthy teeth. But just how much calcium does your growing child need?

The Importance of Calcium in Kids

Before we dive into how much calcium your child needs, let’s take a quick look at why a steady intake of it is important. Our bodies need calcium in order to function properly, and our systems will pull what they need out of what we have in our bones. In fact, the calcium found in bones is repeatedly removed, and it needs to be replaced. This is where eating a diet high in calcium helps replenish what’s lost. This is particularly important in young children when bones are developing and growing.

Calcium Doesn’t Stand Alone

We wouldn’t be giving you great advice if we didn’t tell you that a solid calcium intake is only half the battle. In order for the calcium to be absorbed and aid in bone development, it needs vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin, meaning your body relies on it to function. Make sure your child isn’t only eating a diet rich in calcium, but also vitamin D. Some foods that can help increase levels of vitamin D include:

  • Dairy products
  • Egg Yolks
  • Fish such as salmon and herring

How Much Calcium is Enough?

The appropriate amount of calcium varies depending on age and gender. Here are the recommended daily doses according to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB).

  • 0-6 months = 200 mg
  • 7-12 months = 260 mg
  • 1-3 years = 700 mg
  • 4-8 years = 1,000 mg
  • 9-18 years = 1,300 mg
  • 19-50 years = 1,000 mg
  • 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,000 mg for females
  • 71+ years = 1,200 mg

Foods High in Calcium

When looking for calcium-rich foods, your Long Island pediatric dentist wants you to consider going outside of the dairy aisle. There are plenty of non-dairy foods that pack a mean calcium punch including:

  • Sardines
  • Soymilk
  • Orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified cereal

Remember, besides eating a diet high in calcium, it’s also important to eat a variety of food groups at every meal.

At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we’re in the business of taking care of your child’s growing smile. One way to ensure a lifetime of strong, beautiful teeth is to get the recommended daily amount of vitamin D and calcium. And of course, we always recommend proper brushing and regular dental visits.