Nutrition is required for Healthy Mouth, why?

Nutrition is essential for human development and is the focal point of health and well being. According to the WHO, Nutrition is the science of food and its relationship to health and Malnutrition is the cellular imbalance between the supply of the nutrients and the energy and the body’s demand for them to ensure growth, maintenance, and specific functions.

Malnutrition prevents children from reaching their full physical growth and mental potential. Health and physical consequences of malnutrition in children are lower intellectual quotient (IQ), greater behavioural problems, delay in their physical growth, motor development and deficient social skills; susceptibility to contracting diseases. Oral health conditions, dietary practices, nutritional status and general health status are all inter-related factors.

pic source ; kidsmilehigh
Nutrition promotes healthy development and maintenance of oral health.

Oral manifestation in Malnutrition

Oral cavity is influenced by the diet for development, depending on whether there is an early or late nutritional imbalance, the consequences are certainly different. A shortage of minerals and vitamins in the conception period influences the development of the dental organogenesis in the future embryo, the growth of maxilla and skull/facial development. Diet influences the health of the oral cavity, conditioning the onset of caries, development of the enamel, onset of dental erosion, state of periodontal health, salivary characteristics and oral mucous in general.

The effect of malnutrition on the dentition, including effects on tooth eruption patterns, enamel hypoplasia, and on dental caries prevalence. Acute periodontal conditions in malnourished populations include NOMA (cancrum oris) and acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. Various nutritional deficiencies, including those of calcium, vitamin D, ascorbic acid, and protein may be related to various forms of periodontal disease or manifest oral symptoms which mirror periodontal disease.

An insufficient intake of proteins can lead to atrophy of the lingual papillae, connective tissue degeneration, alteration in dentinogenesis and cementogenesis, altered development of the maxilla, malocclusion and linear hypoplasia of the enamel. An insufficient supply of lipids can result in inflammatory and degenerative pathologies of salivary glands. Inadequate intake of carbohydrates can lead to altered organogenesis, caries, periodontal disease and can influence the metabolism of dental plaque.

Malnutrition is a serious health concern. For a developing country like India, poverty, lack of awareness and illiteracy contribute toward the widespread malnutrition. Malnutrition in turn leads to disease morbidity and mortality especially in the pediatric group and places additional burden on the already limited resources of the country.

Author’s comment

Malnutrition is a risk to oral health with unfavorable socio demographic factors, which calls for a need to improve the living conditions and adequate utilization of available health and nutritional supplementary services through intersectoral approach.



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