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MALNUTRITION AND ORAL HEALTH


Posted on 9/28/2022 by Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD & Associates
Image of woman eating strawberry

HOW DOES POOR NUTRITION/MALNUTRITION AFFECT YOUR ORAL
HEALTH?


There is a synergistic relationship between your oral health and your overall health. What this means is that health issues that affect your whole body, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and HIV, also affect the health of your mouth. Likewise, the health of your oral cavity can affect the health of the rest of your body. This is also true when it comes to malnutrition.

What is Malnutrition?


Malnutrition is a condition that develops when your body isn’t getting enough vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients. It is caused by not having access to enough food, or not getting enough nutrients from the food we are eating. Malnutrition is a global concern, including in the United States, and affects people of every demographic. Because your oral health can often be an indicator of your overall health status, dentists can be some of the first health professionals to notice issues with nutrition.

What are the effects of Malnutrition on my Oral Health?


Your teeth and gums need proper nutrition to remain healthy. Not getting enough nutrients or having a diet full of sugar and acid can cause harmful effects, such as high levels of bacteria and acid, which can lead to decay and other oral health issues. If detected early, the damage can be reversed. Some of the first signs of malnutrition are:
•  reduced saliva production
•  swollen, bleeding gums
•  tooth decay

If left untreated, these conditions can progress to gum recession and gum disease, and bone/tooth loss.

How does my Oral Health affect my body absorbs nutrients?


Your mouth is the entrance point for most nutrients into your body. Healthy teeth and gums are needed to appropriately chew your food, preparing your body to absorb the nutrients within. When poor oral health exists, such as tooth loss, severe decay, or advanced gum disease, chewing can be difficult and painful. This makes it even more challenging to each crunchy, healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetable.

Additionally, poor oral health can lower your body’s natural defense systems by opening areas for bacteria to enter the body.

If you want to know more about the connection between your own oral health and your body’s nutritional or overall health call your dental healthcare provider, or please call us at (702) 473-5100.
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