Many of us have this question looming in our minds. Even after following the dentist’s instructions – avoiding sugary foodstuffs and brushing twice daily, there seems to be no end to the increasing number of decayed teeth in the mouth.
Soon after getting our decayed teeth filled by the dentist, the adjacent teeth seem to be turning black with a large hole forming in them. And when the front teeth decay, everyone is so quick to notice them, much to our embarrassment!
And of course, Ahhh…!! The pain on having something hot or that cup of your favorite ice cream! Damn! What can be the reason?
A recent study has found that a protein in your blood and saliva, called ‘albumin’ can play a role!
Albumin is produced by your liver. It carries many important vitamins, enzymes and hormones throughout your body. It also prevents excessive loss of water from your body and keeps you hydrated. An increased or decreased level of albumin can indicate many underlying diseases affecting your liver or kidneys.
What does albumin have to do with tooth decay?
In the study conducted by Palanivelu & Khandelwal in 2019, it was found that people with more number of decayed teeth had lower amounts of albumin in their saliva. And people with fewer decayed teeth had more salivary albumin!
If you have diabetes, blood pressure or other medical conditions for which you have been taking medications for several years, it affects the albumin level in your body. Even gum disease is associated with the albumin levels in your saliva.
How does albumin help in preventing tooth decay?
Albumin helps protect the hard surfaces of your teeth called ‘enamel’, by helping in the formation of a pellicle/protective film that covers your teeth.
This protective film prevents harmful bacteria from binding to your teeth and causing tooth decay or ‘dental caries’ as it is called by the dentists.
How to keep albumin levels optimal to prevent tooth decay?
Based on your age, your body needs anywhere between 3.5 and 5.9 grams per deciliter (g/dL) of albumin. If your albumin levels are less than what you require, you may experience symptoms like –
- Feeling tired & exhausted easily
- Swelling in your legs or face
- Dry and rough skin
- Loss of appetite
- Yellowish appearance of the skin and eyes
- Diarrhea ( loose stools)
- Abnormal weight gain
- Feeling nauseous
- Thinned hair
Notice these signs, and if you find any of them it’s time to jump into action!
You will be surprised to know that it is super simple to keep the albumin levels optimal in your body for maintaining good health and preventing tooth decay!
Here are five simple steps –
- Consume Protein-rich Foods
Include dairy products (milk, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt) ,eggs ,fish, meat and nuts in your daily diet to naturally increase the albumin levels in your body.
- Avoid Alcohol
Albumin is produced in your liver and consuming too much of alcohol can directly damage your liver. Avoiding alcoholic drinks will keep your liver healthy and albumin levels optimal in your body.
- Monitor your kidneys
Watch your urine! Yes you read that right.
Changes in the color of your urine, foamy/frothy appearance and sudden changes in the number of times you pee in a day may indicate kidney damage.
Damaged kidneys will not be able to retain albumin in your body and you will end up losing too much of albumin through urine.
Consult your doctor if you experience the above symptoms, so that medications given at the right time can keep your kidneys healthy and prevent excessive loss of albumin.
- Care for your Heart
Your heart pumps blood throughout your body from your first breath up until the last breath you take.
If your blood pressure remains persistently high (a condition known as hypertension), it can greatly increase the workload on your heart. Many of us remain unaware for years despite having high blood pressure.
Some of the early signs of high blood pressure include –
- Pounding feeling in your chest
- Throbbing headaches
- Blurring of vision
Keep a check on your heart, by monitoring these signs. Consult your doctor promptly who may put on anti-hypertensive medications to control your elevated blood pressure and keep your heart healthy!
This will automatically optimize the albumin levels in your body. How wonderful is your heart, isn’t it?
- Be grateful to your body
Every device needs to be charged for it to function optimally. Similarly our bodies need to be charged through nutritious diet, adequate sleep, daily exercise and emotional well-being for us to function to our fullest capacity.
We control our body, not diseases. If you have been diagnosed with any long-term diseases like diabetes, keep it well under control through lifestyle changes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lower the albumin levels in your body.
Any uncontrolled disease for that matter can trigger inflammation and hamper your body’s capacity to maintain normal albumin levels.
It is important to monitor changes in your body, practice gratefulness and keep your body charged.
With these five steps you can control tooth decay, rather than tooth decay controlling you!
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Ms. Rajasiri Iyengar
Indian Academy for Clinical And Dental Genetics (IACDG)