Normally, the teeth contain the hardest structure in the body known as enamel, which is the closest thing one has to a bone that sticks out from the skin. The enamel is a hard protective shell of the tooth.
According to dentists, the bones in the skeletal system are living tissues, which means that they have blood vessels and cells that continually grow and repair themselves.
Dr Epimak Kayiranga, a dentist, says calcium is a mineral that one needs to build and maintain strong bones and teeth, and that the body uses calcium to build and maintain healthy bones and teeth.
He notes that calcium also helps regulate heart rhythm, aids with blood clotting, and keeps muscles contracting correctly.
To maintain healthy teeth and bones, Dr Kayiranga says one’s diet needs to contain adequate amounts of calcium.
“Deficiency of calcium overtime has been linked to weakened bones and maybe even osteoporosis,” he says.
Dr Gonzalue Niyigaba, a dentist at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), says that diet plays a major role in the health of the teeth in general.
He notes that there are foods and drinks one can consume that give them calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus, which are essential nutrients for good teeth and bone health.
He, however, notes that calcium and vitamin D are important for tooth and bone growth during childhood.
“By making the right choices about what you eat, you can keep your teeth, bones, and other parts of your body in good shape,” he says.
Dr Pacific Habimana, a dentist in Kigali, says there are possibilities that many people might not get enough calcium, magnesium, and potassium in their diets.
The easiest way, however, to get enough calcium in the diet, is by eating and drinking dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese.
In some cases, he says, those with dairy sensitivities can find non-dairy foods and drinks to get enough calcium from.
Dr Habimana says that eating dark, leafy green vegetables is an excellent way to get calcium, as well as folate, iron, fibre, and antioxidants.
Greens like spinach and broccoli are highly recommended.
“Adding an extra serving of vegetables or salad to your daily diet can be an effective way to increase your calcium intake, which is good for teeth and bones,” he says.
Dr Kayiranga says vitamin D is important because it helps the body absorb calcium, and it also regulates the amount of calcium that’s present in the blood.
He adds that phosphorus is another nutrient that works alongside calcium to help build strong bones.
Phosphorus is also linked to the formation of tooth enamel. It’s important to have the right amount of phosphorus. Foods high in phosphorus include dairy products, pork, poultry, whole grains, nuts, lentils, and fish such as tuna, salmon, and cod.
“You can gain strength and overall good health when you pay attention to the foods you eat, this is very crucial and everyone should adopt this practice to live a healthy life,” says Dr Kayiranga.