Glass of milkCalcium is a crucial ingredient in promoting a healthy smile. In fact, 99% of your body’s supply is in your teeth and bones. Because it is such a key mineral, we need to consume the correct amount of calcium every day in order to maintain our oral and overall health.

The importance of calcium is probably not news to you. But do you know how much you need and where to get it? Keep reading if you want to find out…

The Right Amount of Calcium

Your age and life circumstances will determine the amount of calcium you need, but ultimately we all need it. Young people like babies, children and teenagers need calcium to make their bones and teeth strong and to promote growth. As you reach adulthood, calcium is needed to maintain your teeth and bones, keeping them healthy.

Older adults will need an increased amount of calcium to minimize the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to weaken over time. Pregnant women will also want to watch their calcium intake to make sure they’re getting enough for a healthy pregnancy.

Here is a list of how much calcium you and your family need daily, depending on your age:

  • Babies and Very Young Children Ages 0-3: 500 mg
  • Young Children Ages 4-8: 800 mg
  • Older Children and Teenagers Ages 9-18: 1,300 mg
  • Adults Ages 19-50: 1,000 mg
  • Older Adults Ages 51+: 1,200 mg
  • Pregnant and Nursing Mothers Younger Than 19: 1,300 mg
  • Pregnant and Nursing Mothers 19 or Older: 1,000 mg

Good Sources of Calcium

Calcium-rich foodsDairy products have long been touted as a great source of calcium. However, they’re not the only ones! Some on our list may even surprise you.

One thing to remember is that calcium and vitamin D go together—so much so that we are unable to absorb the benefits of calcium without vitamin D.

Incorporating several of these calcium-rich foods into your daily diet will help ensure you’re getting enough:

  • 1% Milk: 305 mg per cup
  • Greek Yogurt: 187 mg per typical single-serving container
  • Cheddar Cheese: 202 mg per slice
  • Collard Greens: 268 mg per cup
  • Broccoli: 86 mg per 2 cups
  • Kale: 101 mg per cup
  • Edamame: 98 mg per cup

  • Okra: 82 mg per cup
  • White Beans: 63 mg per half cup
  • Almonds: 75 mg in 23 whole almonds
  • Oranges: 74 mg per large orange or 27 mg per cup of orange juice
  • Sardines: 351 mg per 3.75 oz. can
  • Canned Salmon: 232 mg per half can
  • Tofu: 434 mg per half cup

For some inspiration on how to make a meal out of these and other ingredients, check out some tasty, high-calcium recipes!