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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 128-130

Effects of nutrition on oral health

Department of Preventive Dentistry, Faculty of Dental Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, P.M.B. 12003, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
G A Agbelusi
Department of Preventive Dentistry, Faculty of Dental Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, P.M.B. 12003, Lagos
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Nutrition represents a summation of intake, absorption, storage and utilization of foods by the tissues. Oral tissues are one of the most sensitive indicators of nutritional state of the body. Nutritional deficiencies are associated with changes in the integrity (health and appearance) of the oral structures/ tissues and these changes are frequently the first clinical signs of deficiency. Nutrition affects oral health and oral health affects nutrition. The effects of malnutrition can be seen in the oral structures in all stages of human growth and development from conception to old age. The consequence of certain oral diseases may compromise the nutrition by affecting the intake and mastication particularly in some vulnerable groups like people with severe caries, severe oral ulceration, advanced periodontal disease and the resulting edentulousness. The HIV pandemic has added another dimension to the issue of nutrition and oral health. Oral lesions are some of the earliest lesions seen in HIV/AIDS and 90% of HIV/AIDS patients will have oral lesions at a point in the course of the disease. These oral lesions are painful; disturb food intake and mastication thereby further compromising the nutrition of the affected individuals. In Africa, particularly the Sub-Saharan Africa, the burden of poverty, economic downturn and the HIV pandemic have added another dimension to the issue of food availability and nutrition. Malnutrition is a real problem in this area. This paper will examine the effects of compromised nutrition on oral health and the reverse.

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