Selenium and Oral Disease

Selenium and Dental Health

Selenium, a necessary trace element generally obtained from red meat, liver, seafood and nuts. This element is regarded as a micronutrient as it is required in very less amount for the proper functioning of the human body. Normal daily recommended intakes for selenium is 40 to 70 mcg per day. A deficiency or excess of this trace element always has a negative impact on the health.

World Health Organization in 1973 has identified 19 trace elements as important for the human system and classified selenium under the category of “Essential” trace element. This element plays a vital role in enzymatic functions related to the thyroid gland like Glutathione peroxide.  It has a major role in maintaining the integrity of the cell membrane and reproductive health. Some clinical trials have demonstrated that this element has got immune modulatory and anti-proliferative property, thus aiding in cancer prevention.

Selenium and Oral Disease
Selenium and Oral Disease
Food rich in selenium.

Seafood-Oysters, Yellowfin tuna, seed-Sunflower, Lean Pork Tenderloin, Grass-fed Beef, Chicken and turkey, Mushroom-crimini, whole Grains-Rye, Spinach

Oral Health and Selenium.

With regard to oral health, it has a beneficial effect in curing mucositis and other types of oral ulcers. Due to its anti-proliferative effect, it helps in prevention of oral premalignant lesions and conditions like leukoplakia, oral submucous fibrosis etc.

Contradictory to its beneficial effects, an increased amount of selenium level in the body increases the occurrence of dental caries. There is no clear way how it is linked to dental caries, but, the possible mechanism is that it interferes with the tooth mineralisation process and leads to the formation of weak crystals. This makes the tooth  more susceptible to dental caries. Hence people living in the soil with higher selenium levels tend to suffer from dental carries.

Thus, one can consider selenium to have beneficial and deleterious effects on oral health. This means that increased selenium levels helps in prevention of oral cancer  and promotes dental caries. Hence one should be cautious about both types of effects

Dr Ramya Bilagi

BDS, MDS (community dentistry). My passion for blogging is due to my husband. Assistant Professor SDM dental college Dharwad, Administrator Jeevan Jyoti Hospital Hubli.

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