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Breastfeeding mothers must get enough calcium

Breastfeeding mothers must get enough calcium in their diet, a new study has found. Lactating mothers can put the bone structure supporting their teeth at risk as the mouth's supporting structures around the teeth and gums can be weakened by a low-calcium diet, research carried out by the scientists at Tohoku University in Japan found. The research was published in the January issue of the "Journal of Periodontology".

Dr Kanako Shoji, division of periodontology and endodontology at Tohoku University, said: "Our research emphasised the importance of having a high-calcium diet while breastfeeding. While our study was on a rat population, the evidence confirmed that breastfeeding can cause increased bone loss in the mother, especially when the mother has insufficient calcium intake.

"However, in order to confirm the findings of the study, there must be further research carried out on humans," Dr Shoji added.

The recommended daily calcium intake varies from 1,000mg to 1,500mg.

Shoji K, Ohtsuka-Isoya M, Shimauchi H, Shinoda H. Effects of lactation on alveolar bone loss in experimental periodontitis. J Periodontol 2007;78:152-6.