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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 125-129

Lycopene in oral health

1 Department of Periodontics, Himachal Institute of Dental Sciences, Paonta Sahib, Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh, India
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, H.P. Goverment Dental College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Simerpreet Kaur
Department of Periodontics, Himachal Institute of Dental Sciences, Paonta Sahib 173 025, Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0976-6944.122958

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Functional components of food are potentially valuable substances found naturally in foods or added to them as useful ingredients and include carotenoids, dietary fibers, fatty acids, flavanoids, phenolic acids, etc. Carotenoids are among the most widespread and important ones due to their varied functions. They are fat-soluble pigments mostly found in plants, fruits, algae, photosynthetic bacteria, and also occur in yeasts and molds. The most abundant naturally occurring carotenoids are β-carotene, α-carotene, γ-carotene, lycopene, lutein, β-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin. Lycopene, one of the most important carotenoids, structurally determines the potential biological function and plays an equally important role in oral health. Lycopene is a red plant pigment found in tomatoes, apricots, guavas, watermelons, papayas, and pink grapefruits, with tomatoes being the largest contributor to the dietary intake of humans. Lycopene exhibits higher singlet oxygen quenching ability. Due to its strong color and non-toxicity, it is a useful food coloring agent. Moreover, it plays a multifunctional role in the body by protecting the body from the oral pre-cancers like leukoplakia and also prevents the destruction of periodontal tissues. This review article focuses mainly on the role of lycopene in the prevention of periodontal disease and oral cancers.

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