Most patients are shocked to learn that up to 5% of their body weight is composed of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, and potassium (i). Along with vitamins and other nutrients, minerals are essential in helping us look and feel our absolute best. When we don’t get a healthy amount of minerals each day, it becomes increasingly difficult for our bodies to perform basic functions. Over time, mineral deficiency may lead to a variety of very serious health conditions including anemia, osteoporosis, thyroid dysfunction, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Understanding the Difference between ‘Major Minerals’ and ‘Trace Minerals’
The best way to prevent mineral deficiency is to take a moment to learn about the major minerals and trace minerals that are necessary for maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health.
Major minerals are those that the body needs at least 100mg of daily, including:
Trace minerals are needed in smaller doses (under 100mg daily), and include:
It’s important to understand that minerals are classified as either “major” or “trace” according to how prevalent they are in the body, not according to their importance. In truth, no single mineral is more important than any other. Each serves a vital function when it comes to maintaining holistic body wellness.
How Do Minerals Prevent Tooth Decay?
Teeth are living organs, just like the skin and heart. Each day, teeth slowly lose minerals from their surface through a process called de-mineralization. Over time, this process can make tooth enamel weak and susceptible to decay. Plaque accumulation can accelerate the decay process, attracting acid-producing bacteria that slowly destroy the mineral content of the tooth. Once destroyed, the tooth can become irreparably damaged and infected, which may also lead to more serious health conditions like gum disease and heart disease (ii).
Fortunately, the human body is designed to naturally prevent decay from destroying teeth. In fact, teeth are able to restore themselves through a process called re-mineralization. Through this process, saliva supplies the teeth with a healthy balance of minerals that strengthen and fortify enamel. In this fashion, the best way to naturally prevent tooth decay is to make sure teeth are re-mineralized faster and more efficiently than they are de-mineralized.
3 Conditions That Can Prevent Re-Mineralization
In addition to eating foods and dietary supplements that are rich in the minerals listed above, individuals must also take measures to ensure minerals are properly absorbed and utilized. Unfortunately, there are a number of conditions that may prevent the body from fully absorbing minerals. These conditions include:
Celiac Disease. According to the Maryland Center for Celiac Research, Celiac Disease affects about 1 in every 133 Americans. Individuals with this condition experience an auto-immune reaction when they eat gluten, a protein found in many different grains, including wheat, barley, and rye. The autoimmune reaction causes the small intestine to swell, impairing its ability to absorb nutrients. For this reason, it is recommended that individuals with Celiac Disease follow a gluten free diet to minimize digestive disturbances while maximizing the absorption of important nutrients, like minerals.
Gluten Sensitivity. An alarming number of individuals also suffer from gluten sensitivity, even though they do not have a traditional form of Celiac Disease. For these individuals, gluten may likewise impair the small intestine’s ability to absorb and utilize important nutrients.
Leaky Gut Syndrome. This condition is characterized by an “increased permeability” of the intestinal wall, which may allow bacteria, microbes, toxins, and undigested food to leak into the abdominal cavity. In addition to causing a number of serious health issues, leaky guy syndrome may significantly impair the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients that are needed for the re-mineralization process.
Diet and Dentistry: A Holistic Perspective
The best way to build a life-long healthy smile is to give the body everything it needs to re-mineralize teeth naturally and efficiently. At Assure A Smile, we take a holistic approach to dentistry, and we believe that your teeth will enjoy a much healthier lifestyle through proper nutrition, diet, and care. We invite South Florida residents to schedule an appointment online to experience holistic dentistry firsthand.
Readers are also invited to speak with a friendly member of our front desk by calling 305-274-0047.
(i) “Importance of Minerals and Trace Minerals.” Magnesium Online Library. Accessed 1 April 2013.
(ii) “Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Disease.” American Academy of Periodontology. Accessed 1 April 2013.