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Vitamin C - Its Benefits In Maintaining Optimal Oral Health

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is commonly obtained from the diet. To maintain normal bodily activities, small levels of water-soluble vitamin C are required.

Most people agree that vitamin C is the most important water-loving antioxidant and an important cofactor in many enzyme activities.

The majority of plants and animals can produce vitamin C from D-glucose and D-galactose. But people and some animals, like monkeys, guinea pigs, bats, and birds, can't make their own vitamin C because they don't have the enzyme L-gulonolactone oxidase (GLO).

As a result, individuals must receive vitamin C from their diet or take supplements since a vitamin C deficiency can cause spongy, enlarged bleeding gums, dry skin, open sores on the skin, weariness, delayed wound healing, and depression.

Scurvy can arise when healthy people consume less than 10 mg of vitamin C each day. A lack of vitamin C has also been linked to certain malignancies, anemias, and infections.

Because ascorbic acid is susceptible to oxygen, light, and heat, it can be destroyed by overcooking and storing food for extended periods of time.

Also, vitamin C can't be stored in the body, so it needs to be eaten regularly.

What Are The Safety And Side Effects Of Vitamin C?

Oral vitamin C supplements are typically regarded as safe when taken in suitable doses. Excessive vitamin C consumption can result in the following adverse effects:

  • Skin flushing
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and sleepiness, or sometimes insomnia
  • Stomach cramps or bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

Oral vitamin C supplementation, especially in high amounts, might induce kidney stones in certain people. Taking more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C by mouth every day for a long time can cause serious side effects.

Before having any medical testing, inform your doctor that you are taking vitamin C pills. Some tests, like occult blood stool tests or glucose screening tests, may not work as well if there is a lot of vitamin C in the body.

What Are Some Good Sources Of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is found in its natural form in a wide range of fruits and vegetables.

Some reliable sources are as follows:

  • Potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Blackcurrants
  • Strawberries
  • Peppers
  • Citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice

What Are Some Benefits Of Vitamin C?

The following is a list of possible benefits that vitamin C provides:

Wound Healing

Vitamin C is found in skin, muscles, and other tissues and aids in the production of collagen.

People who do not get enough vitamin C may have poorer wound healing because their bodies are less able to make collagen.

Health care professionals may tell people with low vitamin C levels to take supplements while they are getting better.

Cardiovascular Health

There are a few possible reasons why vitamin C is good for cardiovascular health. According to the findings of certain studies, it could:

  • Help reduce plaque instability in atherosclerosis
  • Improve nitric oxide production
  • Help widen the blood vessels
  • Have antioxidant properties

This may help protect against cardiovascular disease as well as hypertension, which is another name for high blood pressure.

But there isn't enough evidence to back up the claim that taking supplements will help protect a person's heart health.

Vitamin C may aid in the prevention of cataracts and the advancement of age-related macular degeneration. More research, however, is required.

According to experts, oxidative stress may be a component in both illnesses, so any benefit may be attributed to vitamin C's antioxidant function.

Diabetes

A 2019 study looked at 31 people aged 60 and over to examine if taking vitamin C supplements affected their glucose levels after eating.

When compared to taking a placebo, participants' glucose levels and blood pressure improved after 4 months of supplementation. This shows that vitamin C could one day be used to treat diabetes.

Pollution

There are many different compounds and pollutants in the air that can hurt people's health.

Research shows that taking vitamin C and vitamin E together may have an antioxidant effect that can help asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients feel better.

Allergies

The immune system initiates an inflammatory response during an allergic reaction, which can result in symptoms such as swelling and hives. The body produces ROS during this process, which can contribute to oxidative stress.

In a 2018 study, 71 people with skin or respiratory allergies were given varying doses of intravenous vitamin C, and the severity of the participants' symptoms was assessed. Based on what they found, taking a lot of vitamin C might help ease allergy symptoms.

They also discovered evidence that low vitamin C levels were common in allergy sufferers.

Motion Sickness

In a 2014 study, 70 participants were given 2 grams of vitamin C or a placebo before spending 20 minutes on a life raft in a wave pool. Those who took the supplement had less seasickness.

A healthy adult's vitamin C needs cover metabolic losses. Fasting plasma for vitamin C should be 50 μmol/l. Vitamin C requirements vary by age, gender, pregnancy, and lactation. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is 90 mg/day and for women it's 75 mg/day, with a 2,000 mg/day upper limit.

Broccoli, green and red peppers, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, and cabbage are rich in vitamin C. Oranges, pineapples, papaya, raspberries, lemons, strawberries, cherries, cantaloupes, grapefruits, and watermelon are vitamin C-rich. Potatoes also contain vitamin C.

Under healthy conditions, plasma vitamin C content depends on ascorbic acid or its oxidized metabolite [dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA)].

Humans can get enough vitamin C from DHAA since it can be turned into ascorbate. DHAA is bioavailable like ascorbic acid.

Small intestinal enterocytes absorb ascorbic acid and DHAA. Enterocytes convert DHAA to ascorbic acid using reductases. Sodium-independent carriers absorb DHAA through facilitated diffusion, while ascorbic acid uses sodium-ascorbate cotransporters.

SVCT1 and SVCT2 are sodium-ascorbate cotransporters. Due to its protein structure and size, SVCT1 can transport more ascorbate than the other variants. SVCT1 expression is lower in the elderly, making their daily needs higher. Chronic stomach inflammation can reduce ascorbate levels; hence, individuals with chronic gastritis should be evaluated for vitamin C deficiency.

Vitamin C And Oral Health

Vitamin C's involvement in health and disease is well-studied, but not in dental health. According to Eydou et al., Vitamin C can prevent dental cavities.

This study found that vitamin C inhibits Streptococcus mutans concentration-dependently. Streptococcus mutans cause dental caries.

Vitamin C helps synthesize collagen, an important protein for tooth structure, support, and maintenance. Vitamin C promotes calcium deposition, mineralization, and tooth decay prevention in youngsters.

According to a meta-analysis by Li et al., chewing vitamin C tablets is associated with tooth wear due to its low pH.

Despite vitamin C's positive influence on dental health, oral health educators should encourage limiting the time soft beverages, fruits, and other vitamin C-containing foods are in the mouth. Erosive tooth wear is also linked to acidic foods, drinks, and chewable vitamin C with a pH lower than normal oral pH (<5.5).

Periodontal disease and vitamin C deficiency are linked. A Vitamin C shortage can cause gingival bleeding despite oral hygiene.

People with low vitamin C blood levels have severe periodontal disorders. Chewing gum can reduce supragingival calculus deposition in healthy people. Vitamin C decreases periodontal inflammation and improves periodontal health.

Vitamin C's antioxidant action and function in collagen manufacturing promote periodontal repair. A vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy, which causes bleeding gums, loose teeth, and atrophic ameloblasts and odontoblasts.

Shimabukuro and colleagues discovered that vitamin C reduced gum bleeding and redness in gingivitis patients. In patients with chronic gingivitis, chronic periodontitis, and type 2 diabetes, vitamin C reduces gingival inflammation and bleeding.

Vitamin C inhibits carcinogenesis and neutralizes cell change. Vitamin C may prevent oral cancer in patients. According to a study, oral cancer patients had lower vitamin C saliva levels than the control group.

In a case-control study, vitamin C intake was linked to a lower risk of oral premalignant lesions. Vitamin C from natural sources (fruits, vegetables) was also linked to a lower incidence of head and neck cancer.

A study found that oral cancer patients had lower vitamin C levels than the control group. Vitamin C insufficiency is a risk factor for oral cancer and is indicated to prevent and treat oral cancer.

Twelve pills of orange vitamin C laying close to each other
Twelve pills of orange vitamin C laying close to each other

Vitamin C Overdose

Vitamin C transforms to oxalate during excretion, causing calcium oxalate stones at high concentrations. Patients with renal dysfunction are more prone to calcium oxalate stones, but healthy people can develop them with a daily intake of one gram.

High doses of vitamin C can cause gastrointestinal distress like gastric pain and flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea when taken orally in quantities of 5–10 g or 2 g daily.

These symptoms vanish 1–2 weeks after cutting back. Vitamin C enhances small intestinal iron absorption and transport.

Sickle cell anemia, hemochromatosis, beta-thalassemia major, and sideroblastic anemia with iron excess are at risk. G6PD deficiency increases the risk of hemolysis. To maintain a protective level in the plasma and avoid gastrointestinal problems, vitamin C should be taken in several doses.

Even though vitamin C is well tolerated, adults shouldn't exceed 2 grams per day.

People Also Ask

What Are Vitamin C Good For?

All bodily tissues require vitamin C, commonly known as ascorbic acid, for growth, development, and repair. It helps the body make collagen, absorb iron, keep the immune system working, heal wounds, and keep cartilage, bone, and teeth in good shape.

Which Fruit Is Highest In Vitamin C?

Foods containing vitamin C are abundant in cantaloupe, which contains 202.6 milligrams per medium-sized melon and 25.3 mg per slice. Vitamin C levels are particularly high in raw citrus fruits. One orange has 70 mg of vitamin C, while one grapefruit contains around 56 mg.

Is It Good To Have Vitamin C Everyday?

For men and women, respectively, the recommended daily allowances for vitamin C are 90 mg and 75 mg. It is advised to take 120 milligrams each day while pregnant. For all individuals, 2,000 mg is the daily maximum.

What Happens If You Don't Get Enough Vitamin C?

Scurvy can develop in people who consume little to no vitamin C (below roughly 10 mg per day) over several weeks. Fatigue, gum irritation, tiny red or purple spots on the skin, joint stiffness, inadequate wound healing, and corkscrew hairs are all symptoms of scurvy.

Final Words

The recommended intake of vitamin C, how it is regulated in humans, and how it affects dental health were all covered in detail in this article. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C for adult men is 90 mg, and for adult women it is 75 mg. Many fresh veggies, including broccoli, green peppers, tomatoes, and leafy greens, are rich in vitamin C. A variety of fruits, including oranges, pineapples, papayas, and lemons, also contain it.

Although ascorbate and DHAA have somewhat different transport methods and regulatory systems, humans can use both of these forms of vitamin C.

The body needs sufficient levels of vitamin C to produce carnitine, catecholamines, and collagen. Vitamin C and Streptococcus mutans have an inhibitory impact that is concentration-dependent.

A lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy, which can cause gums to bleed and make teeth more loose.

Vitamin C is essential for lowering the severity of periodontal illnesses such as advanced gingivitis and periodontitis.

Despite the rarity, vitamin C overdoses can nonetheless happen in those with kidney problems and may result in calcium oxalate stones.

However, the majority of people who take more vitamin C than is recommended are likely to develop gastrointestinal problems such as gastric pain, flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea.

One topic for future research is how to widen the scope of the study to figure out the molecular mechanism behind how vitamin C lowers the burden of disease in chronic conditions like vascular, skeletal, metabolic, neurodegenerative, and oral diseases.

About The Authors

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah - Suleman Shah is a researcher and freelance writer. As a researcher, he has worked with MNS University of Agriculture, Multan (Pakistan) and Texas A & M University (USA). He regularly writes science articles and blogs for science news website immersse.com and open access publishers OA Publishing London and Scientific Times. He loves to keep himself updated on scientific developments and convert these developments into everyday language to update the readers about the developments in the scientific era. His primary research focus is Plant sciences, and he contributed to this field by publishing his research in scientific journals and presenting his work at many Conferences. Shah graduated from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and started his professional carrier with Jaffer Agro Services and later with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Pakistan. His research interest compelled and attracted him to proceed with his carrier in Plant sciences research. So, he started his Ph.D. in Soil Science at MNS University of Agriculture Multan (Pakistan). Later, he started working as a visiting scholar with Texas A&M University (USA). Shah’s experience with big Open Excess publishers like Springers, Frontiers, MDPI, etc., testified to his belief in Open Access as a barrier-removing mechanism between researchers and the readers of their research. Shah believes that Open Access is revolutionizing the publication process and benefitting research in all fields.

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