The Case for Antioxidants

High levels of oxidative stress have a negative effect on health.

All people experience stress. But too much stress can have a negative impact on the body. That’s why stress management should be a routine part of everyone’s healthy lifestyle.

Unlike mental and physical stress, the kind that people feel directly and is more conspicuous, oxidative stress and inflammation occur internally, at the cellular level. But just as it is with physical stress, too much oxidation in the cells is bad for health.

“The good news is that the oxidation process can be neutralized by antioxidants,” asserts H. Gene Steele, DDS, who along with J. Terry Alford, DMD, practices general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry at Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center in Bradenton.

“In fact, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation with an optimal status of relevant nutrients strengthens the immune system,” Dr. Steele continues. “And today, having a healthy immune system has never been more important.

“Low levels of the nutrients Vitamin A, Vitamin D or zinc have been associated with an increased risk of infection. Poor nutrient levels have also been associated with inflammation and oxidative stress. And sufficient protein intake is necessary for optimal antibody production.”

But how can people know whether they have enough antioxidants to help their body combat oxidation? It’s as easy as taking their temperature through a quick, painless laser scan of the skin, and that is available at Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center.

What Is Oxidative Stress?

Accelerated oxidation from too many free radicals leads to imbalances, which result in oxidative stress and its subsequent ill effects on health, contributing to the fact that 70 percent of non-communicable diseases are preventable. Free radicals, which are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons, appear naturally in the body but can be increased by environmental and lifestyle factors such as stress, pollutants, poor diet and substances such as alcohol and nicotine.

“Infections that are chronic and not always painful, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, also cause inflammation,” Dr. Steele explains. “And inflammation increases oxidation, which is very apparent in the mouth because of bleeding when brushing or flossing.

“But oxidative stress and inflammation do not only negatively affect the immune system, they also increase susceptibility to chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and vascular diseases, including those that lead to heart attack and stroke.”

Science has also shown a link between the health of oral tissues and overall health of your body including your heart, lungs and brain.

Studies have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American College of Cardiology affirming the link between periodontal disease and vascular disease.

What can be done to improve immune system function and reduce the risk of chronic diseases?

“Getting adequate nutrition including appropriate levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin D and zinc, as well as sufficient protein helps reduce the risk of infection,” Dr. Steele observes. “In addition, increasing the levels of antioxidants in the body neutralizes the oxidative process.

“Increasing antioxidants and decreasing inflammation can be aided by eating fruits and vegetables in the correct proportions that provide adequate Vitamin C, Vitamin E, carotenoids and polyphenols. But eating enough of the right variety of fruits and vegetables is not feasible for everyone.

“In those cases, dietary antioxidant supplements are available to get the correct levels of antioxidants that are protective. Topical antioxidants are available for application on oral tissues as well.”

About 75 percent of Americans across all age groups are taking supplements. But are their supplements working to get these people to the antioxidant levels required to boost their immune function and protect them against diseases?
“Perhaps you are in this group?”

Dr. Steele asks. “At Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center, we now have a cutting edge laser device that can noninvasively measure the levels of carotenoids for our patients, giving an indication of their overall antioxidant levels. The information we gather helps us make appropriate recommendations to our patients regarding nutrition and supplementation.”

Article courtesy of Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center.
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    • Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center, P.A.

      Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center's commitment to serving their patients includes providing information that helps those patients make more informed decisions. The center utilizes the most recent and up-to-date technology, which includes mast... Read More

    • J. Terry Alford, DMD

      J. Terry Alford, DMD, practices general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry in Bradenton. He received his undergraduate degree from Rollins College, Winter Park, and his dental degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, with ad... Read More

    • H. Gene Steele, DDS

      H. Gene Steele, DDS, is a veteran of the US Army Military Intelligence Corps. Following his discharge from the Army, Dr. Steele attended the University of Toledo in Ohio and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. Dr. St... Read More