Shiitake Mushrooms: A Remedy To Oral Health

Shiitake mushrooms scientifically called Lentinula edodes are an edible variety of mushrooms native to East Asia. It is a Japanese word wherein ‘shii’ stands for ‘hardwood tree’ and take’ means mushroom. These are the variety of mushrooms with many potentially beneficial properties which are now being explored all over the globe.  It is consumed fresh, dried, traditional medicine, and food supplements. They tend to be much less expensive than other dried mushrooms and have enhanced biological properties. These are the second most cultivated mushrooms in the world. They have also been used as traditional medicines due to their medicinal properties. A new research shows the benefit of Shiitake mushrooms in oral health.

Did you know that shiitake mushrooms can help improve your oral health?

Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Scientific Classification Of Shiitake Mushrooms


DIVISION: Basidiomycota

CLASS: Agaricomycetes

ORDER: Agaricales

FAMILY: Omphalotaceae

GENUS: Lentinula

SPECIES: L.edodes

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Origin Of Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake is believed to be first cultivated in China between 1000 and 1100 A.D. The dried shiitake mushrooms are also known as  Chinese black mushrooms, forest mushrooms, and dried Asian mushrooms. Originally from East Asia. The Chinese were the first to cultivate this variety of mildly fragrant mushrooms more than six hundred years ago. They presently contribute to the world’s 25% of mushroom production.

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Habitat Of Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms generally grow on the decaying woods of deciduous trees predominantly shii (hardwood tree) and other trees like chinquapins, chestnut, oak, maple, beech, etc. Therefore its natural habitat distribution is in warm and humid climates that I generally common for fungi to grow. That is favourably present in Southeast Asia.

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Shiitake Mushrooms: A Remedy To Oral Health

Among the recent research on mushrooms not only as a healthy food but also as carriers of preventive food, shiitake stands out with its oral health benefits.  Shiitake mushroom extract can be isolated in various forms such as freeze-dried, oil, and ethyl acetate extracts. It is known for its amazing healing property and antibacterial property which also helps in preventing the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Apart from that,  it has tremendous potential to be used as an antioxidant, anticancer, antigingivitis, antifungal, and antiviral agent.

Placa Bacteriana Dentista Barcelos - ONECARE

Treatment by Shiitake

The treatment of dental issues is time-consuming and expensive, and the costs of medical and dental services are constantly rising to make it obvious that dental caries cannot be managed by the treatment alone. Therefore, the recent development of dental caries has been inhibited by the consumption of specific foods. It is one of the most popular edible mushrooms in the world. Wherein shiitake holds a place in having anti-microbial properties. Thus there are unexplored potentials for shiitake mushrooms that contain significant amounts of biologically active compounds in their extract offering oral health benefits and even anti-cancerous properties.

  • From the oral health point of view, shiitake mushroom extracts have demonstrated caries preventive activities, reduction in oral biofilm formation, and antigingivitis effects.
  • It is also being researched to quantify the amount of the cholesterol-reducing agent eritadenine in shiitake mushrooms, in search of a potential natural medicine against blood cholesterol.

Preparation of Shiitake Mushroom Extract

Various methods of extracts of these mushrooms have been prepared and used in studying their beneficial role in oral hygiene. These include a freeze-dried extract, aqueous extract, oil extract, and ethyl acetate extract.

  • To obtain shiitake mushrooms in small amounts or low molecular mass fractions, we use ultrafiltration of the crude homogenate using the Vivaflow 200 system equipped with a membrane 5000 MWCO polyethersulfone for ultradiafiltration. 0.20 μm pore size membrane is used for the detection of its components. Finally, it is freeze-dried and stored for up to 3 months at −80°C. This, therefore, provides us with a freeze-dried shiitake extract.
  • For obtaining an aqueous extract we follow as:
  1. We grind and mix wt shiitake with chloroform (1600 ml) with stirring at 4°C overnight.
  2. The chloroform extract is evaporated under reduced pressure and the insoluble materials were then mixed with water (1000 ml) with stirring at 4°C overnight.
  3. The suspension obtained is centrifuged to remove the insoluble matter and the aqueous supernatant is then concentrated under reduced pressure.
  4. This aqueous extract is finally re-suspended with water completely. Finally, this is known as the “aqueous extract.”

Biologically Active Compounds Present In Shiitake Mushrooms Extract

The extract obtained is particularly rich in various biologically active compounds and has potent antimicrobial and anti-cancerous properties. Therefore the major components are:

  • Polysaccharide lentinan
  • Erythritol-1,2 and 3,4-butanetetrol; which has 70–80% sweetness to that of sucrose
  • Copalic acid
  • Adenosine; present in both LMM and High molecular mass  fractions of the shiitake extract
  • Carvacrol; aromatic and present predominantly in the oil extract of shiitake
  • Hypocholesterolemic agent eritadenine, 2(R),3(R)-dihydroxy-4-(9-adenyl)-butyric acid

Nutritional Benefits Of Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides like lentinans and other beta-glucans. Thus they have the potential to prevent cell damage and help the immune system by boosting white blood cell formation for fighting microbes. These microbes also have anti-inflammatory properties.

  • 34 kilocalories
  • 7% carbohydrate
  • 2% protein
  • Less than 1% fat
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 9 milligrams
  • Vitamin D
  • Potassium, Magnesium
  • Vitamin B6

Oral Health Benefits Of Shiitake Mushrooms

A significant oral health benefit of this mushroom is actually its antigingivitis effect. The antimicrobial mode of action of its bioactive compounds brings up its role in artificial mouthwash. It prevents the formation of bacterial layers on the tooth surface and thus helps in oral hygiene. Thus we have some of the benefits on fingertips that include:

  • Antiviral and anti-bacterial capabilities by influencing the virulence factor of the pathogens.
  • Presence of Cancer preventing “mycochemicals” that inhibit tumor growth
  • Rich source of vitamin D2 so it helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus hence keeping the teeth strong
  • Antioxidant properties of shiitake
Lentinula Edodes (Edible Mushroom) as a Nutraceutical: A Review – Biosciences Biotechnology Research Asia

Image source: Ponnusamy, C., Uddandrao, V. S., Pudhupalayam, S. P., Singaravel, S., Periyasamy, T., Ponnusamy, P., … & Ganapathy, S. (2022). Lentinula Edodes (Edible Mushroom) as a Nutraceutical: A Review. Biosciences Biotechnology Research Asia, 19(1), 1.

Anticariogenicity of Shiitake Mushrooms

Several in-vitro and in-vivo studies of shiitake have identified a number of biological activities of shiitake to prevent dental caries. These include the induction of the detachment of cariogenic microorganisms. In the study, an in vitro dental caries biofilm model was developed in combination with cariogenic microorganisms with dental hard tissue substratum. Anticariogenicity is quantified by the amount of mineral loss. Eventually, this mineral loss was found to be inhibited by low molecular weight (LMW) fractions of shiitake extracts in vitro.

All these health benefits make these shiitakes sound too good to be true. Fortunately, that’s not the case! Shiitakes are for real, and even though they may seem like exotic mushrooms, they can be grown easily at home. Its potential for oral and anti-cancerous nature is widely appreciated. Also, it has the properties of lowering blood cholesterol levels. The recent research on shiitake mushrooms investigates their use as organic fertilizers and compost from hardwood. Thus no doubt shiitake can be utilized to its full potential in various fields of health and applied life science.

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