What Are Free Radicals?

In biology, senescence is the state or process of ageing. Cellular senescence is awhat are free radicals phenomenon where isolated cells demonstrate a limited ability to divide in culture (the Hayflick Limit, discovered by Leonard Hayflick in 1961), while organismal senescence is the ageing of organisms. After a period of near perfect renewal (in humans, between 20 and 35 years of age), organismal senescence is characterized by the declining ability to respond to stress, increasing homeostatic imbalance and increased risk of disease. This currently irreversible series of changes inevitably ends in death. During the process, tissue breakdown occurs, in skin it shows up as wrinkling and spotty pigmentation and in the mouth tissue breakdown can show up as receding gums, oral cancer, and oral disease such as xerostomia (dry mouth) just to name a few.

Free radical reactions are redox reactions that occur as a part of homeostasis and killing microorganisms, where an electron detaches from a molecule and then reattaches almost instantaneously. Free radicals are a part of redox molecules and can become harmful to the human body if they do not reattach to the redox molecule or an antioxidant. Free radicals reactions are produced in the very act of breathing but can occur in an overabundant supply from factors such as pollutants, alcohol, and nicotine. Even hydrogen peroxide the active ingredient in most teeth whitening products, as well as other dental materials can create large amounts of free radicals.   Even dental compounds and procedures can upset the balance of oxidants in oral tissues, causing oxidative stress

Unsatisfied free radicals can spur the mutation of cells they encounter and are thus causes of cancer. An over abundance of free radical reactions can lead to a state of oxidative stress which has been linked as a root cause to many inflammatory based diseases.

The body’s natural defense system to free radical damage is antioxidants. The basic method of protection is through electron transfer.  Antioxidants are themselves unstable and are usually able to easily donate an electron to a free racial.

As humans, we produce some antioxidants naturally and some we must pull from foods.  As an example humans are unable to produce vitamin C and we must eat foods that contain vitamin C on a fairly regular basis or risk survey.

There are thousands of antioxidants, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and compounds. A healthy, varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts is an excellent source of antioxidants. Supplementation of antioxidants via vitamin supplements has been very popular for years however; antioxidants may be supplied by other external means as well such as the topical application of antioxidants.

Research has shown that antioxidant molecules like Phloretin and Ferulic Acid work on specific free radicals, in different areas of a cell and have different roles in neutralizing free radicals.  The free radical – antioxidant relationship is complex.  Additionally, certain combinations of antioxidants can work together synergistically for even greater impact of free radical reduction.

PerioSciences is dedicated to innovating antioxidant use and providing the best oral care products.  If you would like to learn more about antioxidants in oral care and our products,  join us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!


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