Iodine and Tooth Decay
by Ron Sturtz

As we all know, since the advent of the atomic age, potassium Iodide has been one of the most common forms of iodine to feed and protect our thyroid.

Seagull on the beach

Feeding the thyroid iodine is pretty simple. Iodine in any food form is not retained for long, so we need to replace what we lose through our urine regularly. Iodine is lacking in those regions most remote from the oceans... inland areas and mountainous areas are notoriously deficient in iodine, not to mention highly fluoridated areas. These areas also are higher in breast, ovarian, and cancer of the uterus. There is speculation that low iodine leads to higher estrogen, and elevated estrogen promotes tumors. So, if you are growing a garden in one of these areas, you may want to till some seaweed into your soil if your source of seaweed is safe.

To summarize the thyroid, If you view each cell in your body as a wood-burning locomotive, the kind they had in old western movies, iodine-containing thyroxine controls the amount of wood being thrown into the fire. Thyroxine is like the man shoveling the fuel. The more thyroxine (the more men who are shoveling), the more fuel is added to the fire, and the faster the engine goes. Simply put, that's how your thyroid controls the "speed" of your body. Usually, the problem is too little fire and too-slow an engine, and the symptoms become pretty obvious.

What is seldom discussed, however, are the many ways potassium iodide can help maintain or restore health apart from the thyroid. Speaking of teeth, potassium iodide - which is far safer and benign compared to nascent iodine - is particularly adept at killing Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus, both of which are common to the oral cavity and play a big role in tooth decay.

Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus thrive in an environment rich in table sugar (sucrose). Sucrose is rampant in the average diet of Americans and is found nearly everywhere, even in health-food stores. Either one of these bacteria is capable of converting sucrose to lactic acid.

Lactic acid, along with the phosphoric acid found in soft drinks and the fruit acids found in fruits and fruit drinks, has the power to dissolve dental enamel. But it doesn't stop there. Lots of bacteria can produce acids that will dissolve the calcium in your teeth, but S. mutans has the additional ability to turn sucrose into a gluey adhesive that allows them to stick to your teeth. In this way they can focus their efforts on one spot until they have worn a hole in your enamel.

Our plan of attack, therefore, is two-fold. The first is to reduce the level of sucrose in our diet: starve the bacteria that is attacking us. Starchy foods typically do not contain sucrose, just chains of glucose molecules, linked end-to-end. The second is to ensure that we get greater than the merely adequate levels of potassium iodide (or seaweed) necessary to stave off an iodine deficiency. The iodide form, in this regard, is far and away safer and more palatable than drops of iodine.

As a side note: limiting fructose in our diet could bring dramatic benefits to health, too. In the view of Dr. Robert Lustig, UC Berkeley, and accomplished biochemists with similar credentials, fructose has no intrinsic use in the body and must first be "detoxified" by the liver and converted to glucose before any cell in your body can use it. Yes, this means it has the perceived benefit of a relatively low glycemic index, but this is outweighed, Dr. Lustig believes, by the fact that fructose meets the literal definition of a poison, though a mild one. There are so many toxins that our liver must deal with, many of them metabolic end-products native to our body, it might be wise for all of us to reduce that burden. RS.

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