Doctors often emphasize the importance of calcium. We’re told to eat enough low fat dairy products to incorporate the proper amount of calcium into our diets. Cheese, milk, yogurt, and especially ice cream are all delicious sources of calcium, but it’s almost impossible to add calcium to our diets without consuming calories and fat that we would probably rather avoid.
That’s where calcium supplements come into play. Some supplements or other healthcare products derive their calcium from coral, rather than from dairy byproducts or plants. Coral calcium can be used for a wide variety of things, taking the place of other forms of calcium or alternative minerals we use to keep ourselves healthy.
What is Coral Calcium?
Coral polyps secrete calcium carbonate, also known as limestone. This calcium rich substance helps coral create formations, banding together and sticking to rocks to keep themselves anchored to the ocean floor. Even after coral dies, the exterior secretion of the coral remains as a rich and valuable source of calcium and other minerals.
Is Coral Killed for Calcium?
Coral is never killed for calcium, Many countries have strict regulation preventing coral mining around their shores. Mining coral can severely disrupt ecosystems, and the world’s reef systems are already in significant danger.
Coral has existed for thousands of years, and although some of the coral polyps that were born more than four thousand years ago are still alive today, many of them have died. Their high mineral content turns them into hearty fossils. Their remnants almost ever fully degrade, so millions of their fossils wash up every year.
Coral calcium is ethically sourced from coral fossils that are obtained without damaging reefs. No coral or ecosystems are harmed in the process. Although coral calcium is an animal product, no animals are ever made to suffer to die for its production. It’s merely a repurposing of the bounty of their remnants.
What Other Minerals Does Coral Calcium Contain?
Coral calcium also contains minerals like phosphorus and magnesium. Since coral feed on algae throughout their lifetimes, coral remnants also contain a wealth of trace marine minerals. Some coral calcium providers attempt to filter these minerals out to provide pure calcium. Others prefer to extend the added benefit of the minerals that come with coral in its natural state.
The Uses of Coral Calcium
Coral calcium is often ingested in the form of a calcium supplement. Although many supplement purveyors claim that coral calcium is easier for the body to utilize that calcium in other forms, but studies seem to suggest otherwise. Coral calcium is not a miracle cure for any disease, as it won’t remedy anything that any other form of calcium won’t fix.
While the body can effectively utilize coral calcium, it can also effectively utilize calcium in any other form. Calcium by nature cannot be fully absorbed by the body. This is because high concentrations of calcium at one time are unfavorable. The body deliberately slows its ability to absorb the mineral. Coral calcium is no better or worse than any other calcium in this regard.
To the body, calcium is calcium - no matter where it comes from. Just like with other calcium sources, coral vitamin is best digested and utilized by the body when taken with a vitamin D supplement. The presence of vitamin D won’t matter if the calcium isn’t intended to restore living tissue, like bone. Calcium can work independently on tooth enamel, with or without vitamin D.
Coral calcium can also be used to remineralize the teeth. Weakened enamel can be fortified by applying coral calcium toothpaste, similar to the way that fluoridated toothpaste helps to facilitate strengthening and repair of the teeth.
Is Coral Calcium Safe to Use in Toothpaste?
There is nothing inherently harmful about coral calcium. It’s just as safe to use as all other forms of calcium. Some toothpastes that utilize coral calcium aim to be all natural. The rest of the natural ingredients would also be tested and safe.
You may notice that coral calcium toothpastes don’t often have the American Dental Association’s seal of approval. This does not mean the toothpaste is not safe - it simply means that the toothpaste does not contain fluoride. The seal is only awarded to fluoridated products. Fluoride free toothpastes produced by major name brands will also be missing the seal.
Is Coral Calcium Better Than Fluoride?
The answer to this question is a little tricky. Both fluoride and coral calcium in toothpaste are utilized for the same purpose - to remineralize the teeth and strengthen weakened enamel. Both minerals accomplish the same thing, but by different methods.
Fluoride doesn’t work on its own. It bonds to calcium and phosphorus that already exist in your saliva. They fuse together to create a crystalline substance called fluorapatite. Fluorapatite seals enamel and reverses early signs of cavities, and it’s very good at what it does.
Rather than using fluoride to draw calcium and phosphorus together to form crystals, coral calcium simply provides the calcium carbonate and other trace minerals you need. It also neutralizes the acidity in the mouth, making it easy for your teeth to fully utilize the minerals.
Which one is better would come down to personal opinion. Many people are looking to eliminate sources of fluoride. Since tap water contains added fluoride, most people are already ingesting a fair amount of the mineral. It exists in plants that are exposed to groundwater, shellfish that come from natural sources, and in everything you eat or drink that was prepared with tap water.
Fluoride is safe in small amounts, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to tell if you’ve actually had a small amount. Foods aren’t required to list their fluoride content, and you won’t know how much you’ve ingested through tap water unless you measure every ounce of water you’ve used.
There are villages throughout the world where the population heavily depends on groundwater or well water, which is significantly higher in fluoride. In these places, fluoride related illness negatively impacts people. Overconsumption of fluoride can lead to conditions like skeletal fluorosis, a painful condition where excessive fluoride deposits on the bone stiffen the joints and make the bones brittle.
These illnesses are rare in developed countries with treated tap water, but there are still reported cases from time to time. Certain individuals, like people living with kidney conditions, may be more likely to develop skeletal fluorosis through exposure to levels of fluoride deemed safe for the majority of people. Many people feel they’re posing an unnecessary risk to their health by using fluoride, leading them to avoid it altogether.
It would be exceedingly difficult to accidentally ingest large amounts of coral calcium throughout the day. It only naturally occurs in coral, and coral isn’t a part of our diet. Many people prefer to use a remineralizing ingredient that won’t pose any risk to their health in the way that fluoride might. In this sense, coral calcium is better.
What Else Does Coral Calcium Do For Teeth?
Coral calcium also acts as a dental abrasive. All toothpastes require some kind of abrasive ingredient order to be effective. Without an abrasive, you’d simply be slathering cream on your teeth and hoping for the best. That little bit of grit helps to give the surface of your teeth a good scrub, removing bacteria and buildup that can lead to set-on plaque.
Coral calcium is a slightly gritty substance, giving your toothpaste just enough power to scrub off your surface stains. Some whitening toothpastes are highly abrasive and may be damaging to your enamel. Everytime you scrub with a very gritty toothpaste, you’re potentially removing the enamel you’re supposed to be protecting. Coral calcium exists within a “sweet spot” of effective and safe.
The American Dental Association rates toothpastes on their Relative Dental Abrasivity, or RDA. A mild toothpaste is at or below 70 on this scale. Toothpaste can safely go all the way up to 250. Depending on the variation of coral calcium toothpaste you use, the abrasivity can range anywhere between a gentle and mild 21.5 to a sturdy but safe 106.
A toothpaste with a low abrasivity rating like 21.5 is excellent for sensitive teeth with weak enamel. A toothpaste with an RDA rating of 106 is great for buffing surface stains off of the teeth, producing a subtle and natural whitening effect. As its polishing your teeth, it’s also working in enamel safe minerals to produce stronger, healthier teeth.
Coral calcium is a safe, effective, natural ingredient in toothpaste that plays an important role. It thoroughly cleans the surface of your teeth while providing your mouth with the minerals it needs to fortify your tooth enamel. It works just as well as any other form of calcium, and because it’s derived from organisms that are no longer living, the planet isn’t harmed in its production.
Source 1 - mineral structures in coral
Source 2 - calcium and vitamin d
Source 3 - fluorosis in the united states