Dental Health: How Iron Prevents Tooth Decay
2015 l 2:00 pm

Presently, it was understood that brushing one’s teeth, flossing regularly, and using a fluoride mouthwash in combination was the key to a healthy mouth. However, emerging new evidence suggests otherwise. In a recent animal study, it was found that rodents such as rats and beavers have extremely strong and healthy teeth that are practically immune to tooth decay. The reason behind this strength is iron. Although, they spend all their lives gnawing at massive trees or tree trunks their teeth remain healthy and strong. This is because the enamel core of their outsized incisors has tiny iron-rich nanowires that are interwoven throughout. Moreover, the scientists are suggesting that the beavers teeth are structurally similar to our teeth, however, chemically they differ which makes their teeth stronger and healthier than ours. The key ingredient that the researchers recently found was iron in combination with magnesium.

Iron is the Key Ingredient

There is a reason that the beaver’s teeth enamel appears rusty red, it is from the iron. This iron is tougher, and extremely resilient to acid and tooth decay in comparison to our regular tooth enamel, which is often treated with fluoride coating after every other dentist visit. Moreover, this could be good news for the high percentage of children and adults who suffer from dental carries. This current discovery could lead to better options for preventing tooth decay and also improve the current treatment regime that is done with fluoride.

One of the most prevalent diseases in the U.S.. today is tooth decay. Dentists across the country have been trying to devise new methods and strategies, but they all revolve around fluoride treatments. They have yet to devise a method by which an element such as iron can be utilized for treatment regimens instead of fluoride. However, firstly one must understand what role iron plays in our body as most of us utilize iron in our daily diet whether it is in the form of fruits and vegetables or nutritional supplements or vitamins.

How Iron Functions in Our Body

Iron, a key element in the periodic table, is used in our body for some processes, particularly at the molecular level. Most importantly, it is used for the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. It is also utilized for the assembly of red blood cells a process that is also known in medical terms as hematopoiesis. Additionally, it is also a component of hemoglobin (the pigment of the red blood cells that gives its color) and binds to the oxygen, thus aiding its transport from the lungs through the arteries to all cells in the body.

After delivering the oxygen the iron (still a part of hemoglobin) then binds to the carbon dioxide that is released from the cells as a byproduct is transported back to the lungs where it is exhaled out and thus the binding cycle for iron continues.

Another important function of iron is to convert the blood sugar to energy. It is known that athletes and people who do much physical exertion require a significant amount of metabolic energy so that the muscles can work at their optimum capacity.

Iron also plays a crucial role in the recovery processes such as bouncing back after certain illnesses or physical exertions. This process requires producing new enzymes that play a significant role in new cell production and maturation (including hormones and amino acids that are the building blocks for proteins).

Our immune system is also at the mercy of iron for its reliable function that nourishes physical and mental growth in the presence of adequate iron levels.

Iron is excreted out of the body by various means such as urination, defecation, perspiring, and exfoliating of old skin cells. Menstruation, in females, is another route by which iron is excreted from the body, that explains the high demand of iron in females.

Symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, and lowered immunity can set in if our body is depleted of iron since our bodies cannot generate iron itself, hence the body relies on external sources for adequate amounts of iron as part of our daily diet.

Therefore, in the light of these factors for our dental health we have to intake a significant quantity of iron that can be utilized by our body. Moreover, it is a well-known phenomenon that overdose of anything can be harmful to the body. Therefore, we can only intake what are body needs in adequate quantities and nothing more as it will not be beneficial for our system. Moreover, researchers are currently trying to figure out a way to incorporate iron as a replacement for fluoride treatment so that our dental health can improve as well.