Overall health and oral health are integrally correlated to each other. We put lots of efforts to maintain general health, however the importance of good oral health is often undermined. The cells of oral cavity are just like any other part of our body , they are viable, they exhibit growth and death phenomenon and need nutrition for their growth , development and maintenance. Poor nutrition or malnutrition adversely affects your oral health and poor oral health in-turn may lead to malnutrition.
Malnutrition is a condition developed when the body does not get right amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients required to maintain healthy tissue and organ functions.
For a healthy mouth, state of homeostasis should occur in the mouth. When the pH (level of acidity) of the mouth is maintained in the neutral range of 7, there is a balance and potential to maintain health. As the pH falls it makes mouth susceptible to various oral diseases- caries, loss of enamel due to rapid acid attack ( erosion ), increase dentinal hypersensitivity and candidal infection. The pH of resting saliva in healthy individual ranges from 6.8 to 7.2.
Malnutrition may alter the homeostasis and can lead to disease progression of oral cavity, impaired immune system of body leads to decrease resistance to microbial biofilms and reduce capability of tissue healing. The deficiency of Vitamin A, B complex, C, D, Iron deficiency and protein energy malnutrition has been associated with oral health.
Role of Protein Energy Malnutrition in Oral Health
Protein is required in diet for tooth structure, mucosal/connective tissue development and immune function.
Early childhood protein energy malnutrition can affect the eruption pattern of teeth among adolescent the early childhood protein energy malnutrition can lead to the delayed exfoliation of milk teeth and the delayed eruption of permanent teeth.
Role of Vitamin Deficiency in Oral Health
Vitamin A is essential for healthy enamel (outer layer of tooth) and salivary glands. Deficiency of vitamin A can leads to enamel hypoplasia. Vitamin A helps the body to assimilate calcium and protein.
Saliva plays an important role in homeostasis in maintaining a healthy environment in oral cavity but in case of protein energy malnutrition and Vitamin A deficiency, the function of salivary glands, the flow of saliva and its buffering capacity decrease which leads to increased risk of teeth and gums diseases.
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to atrophy of salivary glands and thereby contribute to decrease defence capacity of oral cavity against infection.
Vitamin B complex and folic acid
Vitamin B deficiencies are one of the most common deficiencies that can affect the mouth. Vitamin B complex deficiency can bring about recurrent aphthous stomatitis or canker sores, bad breath, atrophic tongue, painful , swollen or burning tongue, cracked lips, lips inflammation and scalding of toungue and sore throat.
Vitamin C is the best natural antioxidant. It essential in keeping the connective tissues of your gums strong.Vitamin C is an essential nutrient to maintain the integrity of bone, connective tissue, and teeth. Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis and is a key factor in wound healing. Deficiency causes Scurvy, which loosens gums, thus make teeth mobile and gums to bleed.
Vitamin D is very important for is absorption of Calcium.It enhances the absorption of minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphate, and zinc in the intestine.
Without it, your entire mouth would show symptoms of calcium deficiency, underdeveloped teeth, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Deficiency of Vitamin D leads to the burning mouth syndrome (indicated by the pain the mouth that is burning or tingling, along with numbness, dry mouth, and altered sense of taste).
This is the cheapest Vitamin to get naturally. You need not to spend even a single penny , just by sitting in direct sunlight for 15 minutes each day, recharge your Vitamin D stores.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It promotes bone health by protecting the bone-making process from damage by free radicals. Vitamin E is also important for boosting the immune system in order to help fight off viruses and bacteria.
Role of Mineral Deficiency in Oral Health
Calcium is the most important mineral for the health of teeth and the jaw bone.
Deficiency can cause several oral health problems like loose teeth, premature tooth loss, softening of teeth, bleeding of gums and osteoporosis which can cause weak bone tissues around your teeth.
Iron deficiency can cause your tongue to become inflamed and sores can form inside your mouth.
Magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium. It also assists with activating many of the B vitamins. Magnesium makes teeth harder, helps to build strong enamel for your teeth and helps prevent the formation of cavities.Magnesium deficiency can lead to inflamed gum tissue.
Zinc helps to control plaque, reduce halitosis and inhibit the formation of tartar along the gum line. Zinc deficiency can cause loss of sensation in tongue, loss of taste, dry mouth and susceptibility to gum disease.