Both calcium and magnesium are necessary for a healthy body, especially your teeth and bone health. Less than 30% of adults get the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of magnesium. Magnesium works in concert with calcium to regulate electrical impulses in the cells. If the ratio of calcium is higher than magnesium it will cause cell dysfunction. Adequate magnesium is necessary for nerve conduction and is also associated with electrolyte imbalances that affect the nervous system. Signs of a minor deficiency of magnesium are painful muscle spasms, muscle cramps, facial tics, eye twitches, involuntary eye movements, anxiety, times of hyperactivity, difficulty getting to or staying asleep.
How does this concern our teeth?
If we are not getting sufficient magnesium from our diet, it doesn’t matter how much calcium we consume - our teeth can only form hard enamel if adequate amounts of magnesium are available to send the calcium to your teeth and bones. Researchers have found that even a minor ongoing deficiency of magnesium can lead to a significant amount of bone loss. About 50-60% of the magnesium found in the human body is found in our bones and teeth. So you can see just how important sufficient magnesium is for proper function and survival.
Behaviors that can put you at risk for a magnesium deficiency:
Drinking carbonated beverages on a regular basis adds large amounts of phosphates to your system, which will bind to the magnesium in your digestive tract and flush it out of your body.
Drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages daily stimulates the kidneys to excrete extra magnesium.
Eating sweets regularly (refined sugars) also causes the body to excrete extra magnesium through the kidneys.
Both physical and emotional stress cause an outpouring of magnesium from cells into your blood stream which help us feel both energized and calm in a stressful situation. The more often we are stressed the more likely we will be depleted of our magnesium stores. This magnifies the stress because our body can’t send more magnesium to calm the situation.
Taking prescription drugs like diuretics, heart medications, asthma medication, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy have been shown to reduce magnesium levels in the body by secretion in the kidneys.
Taking a calcium supplement without magnesium or with magnesium in less than a 1:1 ratio. Taking too much calcium can have a negative effect on magnesium levels.
Obesity and high blood sugar levels can exasperate magnesium levels. Low magnesium diets lead to poor blood sugar control which leads to more magnesium secretion by the kidneys.
What can you do?
We’ve made a list of foods high in this nutrient to help you get on your way to total health. An easy way to remember the foods that are beneficial are dark leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Making these foods a part of your daily diet is the best way to lower your risk of a magnesium deficiency.