University of Toronto, Canada
Posters-Accepted Abstracts: J Nutr Food Sci
Dental caries has traditionally been viewed as a tooth de-mineralizing process limited to the oral cavity. New understandings of oral/systemic links propose that dental caries is an uncontrolled inflammatory response controlled by the brain and moderated through the hypothalamus/parotid axis of the endocrine system. The role of reactive oxygen species in the hypothalamus is a signaling factor in establishing tooth vulnerability or resistance. Vitamin K2 appears to have a significant antioxidant role in the brain as well as a key nutrient in the management of calcium in the body including bones and cardiovascular tissues. K2 works in concert with calcium and vitamin D. This systemic paradigm of dental caries places nutrition on the leading edge of prevention because it is focused on the cause of the disease rather than traditional preventive efforts focused on the symptoms. K2 also appears to have a potential salivary buffering role in the exocrine portion of the parotid gland as well as the other salivary glands. In this systemic paradigm, the potential preventive role of nutritionists and public health professionals is elevated to unprecedented levels. Working to broaden current dental recall programs beyond a symptom focus will show benefits but will probably have to be driven by public education programs.
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