When we are doing any dental procedure, we focus on enhancing the body’s natural healing abilities. One way we can do that is by increasing Nitric Oxide levels if they are less than ideal. Research into how this important factor aids in healing has been groundbreaking. UCLA pharmacologist Louis J. Ingarro even won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his findings and research on Nitric Oxide. Ensuring that nitric oxide levels are optimal prior to dental treatment can aid enhancement of healing and better long term outcomes, whether we are treating the tooth itself or the surrounding gum tissue.  

Nitric Oxide is beneficial because it initiates and maintains dilation of blood vessels, and facilitates healing. Healthy blood flow is key in healing, and nitric oxide is a major player in that. How exactly does Nitric Oxide influence healing? Thomas Burke, Ph.D provides a great explanation:

Nitric Oxide (NO) and its interrelationship with essential growth factors is critically involved in the entire continuum of events associated with wound repair. NO is a powerful stimulator of cell division and maturation. NO is a necessary mediator of the formation of new blood vessels and lymph ducts to nourish the healing tissues. NO increases the number of fibroblasts and thereby enhances collagen formation for the healing wound. Lastly, L-arginine and NO are necessary for the proper cross-linking of collagen fibers to one another to minimize scarring and maximize the strength of healed tissue.”

How can we get more nitric oxide? Supplements are available but a adding more of those leafy greens to one’s diet is a great way to increase nitric oxide. The top ten vegetables highest in nitric oxide are:

1. Arugula
2. Rhubarb
3. Cilantro
4. Butter Lettuce
5. Spring Lettuces (such as Mesclun mix)
6. Basil
7. Beet Greens
8. Oak leaf lettuce
9. Swiss Chard
10. Beets

How can one know if nitric oxide levels are ideal? We now stock Nitric Oxide test strips and are happy to provide this simple test for our clients. It is as easy as placing a test strip on the tongue to saturate the test strip with saliva, then we remove the test strip from the mouth, fold it, and wait about a minute and we have our result. Based on this information, recommendations can be made regarding diet and supplementation to enhance the body’s ability to heal itself. We hope that this will help our clients further their efforts to maintain optimal health.

Be Well!


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