Earlier this year we explored magnesium, a micronutrient critical to life (and good for your teeth). Now let’s turn our attention to zinc, another element that can be absorbed into the enamel of your teeth and help make it harder and more resistant to decay. Relatively large amounts of zinc are incorporated into enamel prior to tooth eruption, but the zinc level of your enamel increases further post-eruption from the zinc secreted in your saliva, and from the zinc in your diet that contacts the teeth during eating. Zinc is easily incorporated as a substitute for calcium ions, and will decrease the solubility of enamel when it is contacted by acids from oral bacteria and your diet. Zinc in dental plaque is thought to have antibacterial properties. They don’t seem to like it. Bacteria have their preferences, just like us. In sum, zinc has a positive effect on reducing dental caries.
Much like magnesium, many people do not get enough in the standard American diet of processed food which is low in nutrient density. People who sweat heavily also add further insult to their zinc deficiency (same with magnesium).
How do you get zinc in your diet? Pumpkin seeds! Also red meat, shellfish, chicken and eggs (regardless of which came first). Vegetarians struggle to get enough zinc (and copper) without supplementation.
Once zinc gets past your teeth and ingested, it performs a myriad of functions for your body. It is vital to the thyroid for making thyroid hormone (and positive happy moods), and is also critical for proper functioning of the immune system. It helps create DNA and can act as a neurotransmitter between cells. It is also vital to the functioning of your mitochondria, the power houses in your cells that produce energy for all of life’s activities. It is needed in over 200 chemical reactions in your body. So yeah, you need some zinc. One super relevant modern development is that zinc is one of the elements low in a majority of children with autism. This may be 1 of hundreds of insults (deficiencies, toxins, infections etc.) that have helped cause the tremendous spike in autism and other developmental issues. The connection might be zinc being needed to make the powerful antioxidant glutathione, which helps regulate your body’s ability to detox from this toxic world, and reduce oxidative stress caused by those toxins that can damage our cells and DNA. It might be a child’s inability to neutralize toxins that contributes to the brain dysfunction seen in autism. And toxins are EVERYWHERE. In our food, in our water, in our air, in our vaccines, in our household cleaning and personal hygiene products. A robust ability to detox appears to be critical to proper brain function, and zinc is right in the middle of that.
Protect your teeth. Protect your brain and body. Check your diet for zinc containing foods today!
To read more about zinc: