The Overlooked Mineral


While often overshadowed by calcium and vitamin D in discussions about bone health, magnesium's role in maintaining dental wellness is equally critical. This guide will explore the multifaceted ways magnesium contributes to oral health, from strengthening the jawbone and teeth to enhancing the body's defense against periodontal disease. Understanding the importance of magnesium can empower individuals to optimize their nutrient intake for a healthier mouth.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a vital mineral that plays a pivotal role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. It is also crucial for the structural development of bones and is necessary for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium works in harmony with calcium to support healthy teeth and bones, making it essential for oral health.

How Magnesium Works

In the realm of oral health, magnesium contributes to the physical structure of the teeth by working with calcium to form hard, resilient enamel that resists decay. It also influences the health of the jawbone, which supports the teeth, by promoting the density and strength necessary to keep teeth anchored firmly in place. Additionally, magnesium plays a role in muscle function, supporting the muscles of the jaw and face which are essential for chewing and speech.

Magnesium and Oral Health

Adequate magnesium intake is vital for preventing tooth decay and periodontal disease. It helps maintain a balanced pH level in the mouth, reducing the risk of enamel erosion and promoting a healthier oral environment. Magnesium's anti-inflammatory properties also contribute to healthier gums, mitigating the risk of gingivitis and other gum diseases by supporting the body's immune response to infection.

The Synergy of Magnesium with Other Nutrients

The effectiveness of magnesium in promoting oral health is enhanced when paired with other key nutrients, particularly calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients work synergistically to maximize absorption and utilization, ensuring that teeth and bones receive comprehensive support. This nutrient trio is fundamental for developing and maintaining strong, healthy teeth and a robust jawbone.

Sources of Magnesium

Magnesium is abundantly available in a variety of foods, making it accessible for most people through their diet. Rich sources include green leafy vegetables (such as spinach), nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Additionally, certain fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are good sources of magnesium. For individuals who may not get enough magnesium from their diet, supplements can be an effective way to ensure adequate intake.

Magnesium Deficiency and Oral Health

A deficiency in magnesium can lead to significant oral health problems, including weakened enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay. It can also impact the health of the jawbone, leading to a higher risk of tooth loss. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency, such as muscle spasms or cramps, can also affect the muscles used in chewing and speaking. Addressing magnesium deficiency is crucial for maintaining oral health and overall well-being.

Myths and Facts


  1. Supports Bone Health: Magnesium plays a critical role in bone density and strength, which is essential for supporting the teeth and maintaining a healthy jawbone structure.
  2. Aids in Calcium Absorption: It is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium, an essential mineral for healthy teeth and bones.
  3. Enamel Protection: Magnesium contributes to the remineralization of tooth enamel, helping to protect against decay and erosion.
  4. Gum Health: While indirectly, magnesium's role in overall bone health and calcium regulation can influence the health of gums by supporting the underlying bone structure.


  1. Immediate Effects on Oral Health: Some believe that increasing magnesium intake will instantly improve oral health or reverse dental issues. Benefits of magnesium, particularly for oral health, develop over time through consistent intake.
  2. Magnesium Supplements Solve All Deficiencies: While supplements can help, they aren't always necessary or the best solution for everyone. Dietary sources of magnesium are often sufficient for most people.
  3. High Doses Have No Side Effects: Excessive magnesium intake, especially from supplements, can lead to adverse effects such as gastrointestinal issues or imbalances in other minerals.
  4. Only Needed for Bone Health: Magnesium's role extends beyond bone health; it's also important for proper muscle function, nerve function, and maintaining a healthy immune system, all of which can impact oral health.


Frequently Asked Questions about Magnesium

1. How does magnesium contribute to oral health?

Answer: Magnesium plays a crucial role in bone and tooth formation, helps the body utilize calcium and vitamin D effectively, and is essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums.

2. Can magnesium deficiency affect my teeth?

Answer: Yes, a magnesium deficiency can lead to weakened enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay and periodontal disease due to its role in calcium absorption and bone health.

3. What are the signs of magnesium deficiency related to oral health?

Answer: Symptoms include increased susceptibility to cavities, gum disease, general tooth decay, and in severe cases, periodontitis and tooth loss.

4. How much magnesium should I take for optimal oral health?

Answer: The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies by age and gender, but adults typically require 310-420 mg per day. Consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

5. Can taking magnesium supplements improve my oral health?

Answer: Magnesium supplements can help if you're deficient, contributing to stronger teeth and bones. However, it's important to balance magnesium with adequate calcium and vitamin D intake.

6. Are there any side effects of taking magnesium supplements?

Answer: High doses of magnesium from supplements can cause diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Always adhere to the recommended dosage.

7. What foods are rich in magnesium that can benefit oral health?

Answer: Foods high in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, and bananas.

8. How does magnesium work with calcium for oral health?

Answer: Magnesium and calcium work together to form hard tooth enamel that resists decay. Magnesium also helps the body absorb and utilize calcium more effectively.

9. Can magnesium help with gum disease?

Answer: Yes, magnesium's anti-inflammatory properties can support gum health, reducing the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis.

10. Is there a link between magnesium and tooth decay?

Answer: Yes, adequate magnesium intake is linked to a lower risk of tooth decay because it strengthens tooth enamel and improves bone health.

11. How does magnesium affect the healing of oral tissues?

Answer: Magnesium promotes the healing of oral tissues and can speed up recovery after dental surgeries by supporting cell repair and immune function.

12. Can magnesium reduce dental plaque?

Answer: While magnesium itself doesn't reduce plaque, a balanced diet including magnesium can support overall oral hygiene and health, indirectly affecting plaque formation.

13. What role does magnesium play in the development of children's teeth?

Answer: Magnesium is vital for the proper development of bones and teeth in children, ensuring strong enamel formation and healthy gum tissue.

14. Can magnesium help with bruxism (teeth grinding)?

Answer: Magnesium has muscle-relaxant properties that may help reduce the severity of bruxism, particularly stress-related teeth grinding.

15. How does magnesium influence oral pH balance?

Answer: While magnesium directly doesn't alter oral pH, a diet rich in magnesium supports overall health, including saliva production, which helps neutralize acid in the mouth.

16. Are magnesium oral supplements as effective as dietary magnesium?

Answer: Dietary magnesium is generally preferred for absorption and health benefits, but supplements can be effective for individuals unable to meet their needs through diet alone.

17. Can high magnesium intake harm oral health?

Answer: Excessive magnesium intake (especially from supplements) can lead to imbalances and should be monitored, but it rarely directly harms oral health.

18. How does magnesium interact with other nutrients for oral health?

Answer: Magnesium works synergistically with vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, all vital for maintaining healthy teeth and bones.

19. Can magnesium prevent oral infections?

Answer: Adequate magnesium intake supports the immune system, potentially reducing the risk of oral infections, though it's not a direct preventative measure.

20. How can I ensure I'm getting enough magnesium for my oral health?

Answer: Incorporate a variety of magnesium-rich foods into your diet and consider supplements if you're unable to meet the RDA through food alone.

21. Does magnesium have any benefits for people with dentures?

Answer: While magnesium directly doesn't affect dentures, maintaining adequate levels can support overall oral health and the health of remaining natural teeth and gums.

22. Can magnesium help with oral pain or sensitivity?

Answer: Magnesium's role in muscle and nerve function might indirectly reduce oral pain or sensitivity, but more research is needed.

23. Is magnesium important for elderly oral health?

Answer: Yes, magnesium is important for elderly oral health, especially in maintaining bone density and preventing tooth loss.

24. How quickly can magnesium impact oral health?

Answer: The effects of magnesium on oral health can take several months to become evident as part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.

25. Can magnesium affect the color of my teeth?

Answer: Magnesium doesn't directly affect tooth color. However, maintaining adequate magnesium levels contributes to overall oral health, which can indirectly influence tooth appearance.