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. Studies have shown that early malnutrition affects tooth structure, causes a delay in tooth eruption, and results in increased dental caries. It has also been found that chronic malnutrition not only affects tooth exfoliation but also renders the permanent teeth susceptible to caries later in life. The presence of enamel hypoplasia may be a predisposing factor in initiation and progression of dental caries and a predictor of increased caries susceptibility in malnourished children. A study was undertaken to assess the nutritional status and dental health of 3–6‑year‑old children in T-Narasipura Taluk, Mysore, India. Status of malnutrition in children is widely estimated using anthropometric methods such as WHO, IAP standards, BMI, MUAC, weight for age, and height for age. Assessment of nutritional status provides information on growth and body composition. In the present study, assessment of nutritional status by BMI showed 41% of children to be underweight, whereas assessment by MUAC showed only 0.82% of children to be undernourished.
Malnutrition increases susceptibility to infections while an infection aggravates malnutrition by decreasing appetite, inducing catabolism and increasing demand for nutrients. The increased susceptibility to infections may be caused by impairment in immune function due to malnutrition. The prevalence of underweight children in our study increased with age. Reasons could be low family income, large families, inadequate number of meals, improper or poor diet, lack of access, and/or neglect to medical needs. As a result, older children could suffer from nutritional deficiency in comparison to younger aged children. Early malnutrition may produce defects in teeth during the period of development so that they are more susceptible to subsequent dental caries after eruption. Chronic malnutrition in growing children increases the incidence of dental caries. Increase in primary dentition caries has been associated with wasting and stunted children. Malnutrition in early childhood is often associated with enamel hypoplasia of the primary dentition. The oral lesions commonly seen due to poor nutrition are fissured tongue, geographic tongue, aphthous ulcers, depapillated tongue, and angular cheilitis.
It is evident from the present study that malnourished children are prone to compromised oral health. Motivation of ICDC workers is essential for educating mothers on the relationship between nutrition and oral health. Oral health education for mothers should include feeding and dietary practices. Establishment of dental home is important in these areas to meet the oral health care needs of these children.madhusudhan kempaiah siddaiah
Saudi Journal of Oral Sciences(Vol. 6, Issue 1)
Babu KG, Subramaniam P, Madhusudan KS. Association of nutritional status and dental health among 3–6-year-old children of a South Indian population. Saudi Journal of Oral Sciences. 2019 Jan 1;6(1):31.