Nutrition is defined as the science of how the body uses food to meet requirements for growth, development, repair and maintenance. The tissues in the oral cavity turns over rapidly, as such oral tissues are prone to nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies have oral signs that can be recognized by your dentist. Common deficiencies include iron, folate, thiamine, zinc, calcium, antioxidants including vitamin E and selenium, fibre and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Groups at risk of nutritional deficiencies are those with malabsorption syndromes (Crohn’s disease or Coeliac disease), alcoholics, eating disorders, HIV patients and the elderly.
Common Dietary Guidelines
1. Eat a variety of nutritious food:
• Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
• Eat plenty of cereals, preferably whole grain
• Include lean meat, fish, poultry
• Include reduced dairy fat foods
• Drink plenty of water
2. Take care to:
• Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
• Choose foods low in salt
• Limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink
• Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing sugars
3. Prevent weight gain by being physically active and eating according to your needs
4. Care for your food and keep it safe.
Some of the changes in the mouth includes:
1. (Riboflavin Deficiency) : Magenta tongue
2. (Niacin, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Iron Deficiency) : Painful tongue with inflammation
3. (Vitamin C deficiency) : Bleeding gums
4. (Vitamin A and Vitamin D Deficiency) : Delayed formation of teeth, defects in the structure of teeth.