Malnutrition is widespread in rural, tribal, and urban slum areas.


The causes for malnourishment seen in children can be attributed to overpopulation, poverty, large family size, poor maternal health, adverse cultural practices, destruction of the environment, lack of education, gender inequality, and inaccessible medical care. The children of India are malnourished because of the above factors. Growing malnourished children exhibit behavioral changes, including irritability, apathy, decreased social responsiveness, anxiety, attention deficits, impaired growth, poor school performance and decreased intellectual achievement. Oral health conditions, dietary practices, nutritional status and general health status are all inter-related factors. Nutrition promotes healthy development and maintenance of oral health. Malnutrition adversely affects the oral structures.


Malnutrition is the condition that develops when the body does not get the right amount of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients which is needed to maintain health of the tissues and organ functions. Mild malnutrition has an acute course and it has a main deficiency in energy; moderate malnutrition is chronic in nature and it has a main deficiency in protein, while severe malnutrition is both acute and chronic, and it is composed of deficiencies in both protein and energy. Malnutrition can be classified according to its origin as primary, when the cause is a deficit in delivery (inadequate ingestion or gastrointestinal disorders), and secondary, when there is an underlying chronic disease or disorder that causes the malnutrition. Malnutrition can also be classified as acute or chronic according to the time of onset and duration of the condition. Acute malnutrition occurs when there are recent deficits of supply or the sudden onset of an extensive lesion that leads to high levels of catabolism, whereas chronic malnutrition or growth delay is due to a persistent deficit in nutrient delivery, chronic disease or acute disorders with a prolonged clinical course. Acute malnutrition mainly affects weight whereas chronic nutrition affects both weight and height in children.

Author Comments

Malnutrition is a serious health concern. For a developing country like India, poverty, lack of awareness and illiteracy contribute toward the widespread malnutrition. The addition of war and natural disasters to the list also exacerbates the prevalent situation. Malnutrition in turn leads to disease morbidity and mortality especially in the pediatric group and places additional burden on the already limited resources of the country. In the bigger picture, it also leads to poor work performance and thus hindrance in the country's development and progress. Although there has been a general increase in awareness and concern regarding nutrition in India, still no major improvements have been seen over the past few decades. madhusudhan kempaiah siddaiah




International Journal of Scientific Research

Madhusudhan KS, Pallavi MR. Malnutrition – A risk for oral health. International Journal of Scientific Research 2019;8(4):74-77.

Malnutrition prevents children from reaching their full physical and mental potential. Health and physical consequences of prolonged states of malnourishment among children are: delay in their physical growth and motor development; lower intellectual quotient (IQ), greater behavioural problems and deficient social skills; susceptibility to contracting diseases. Dental development is integral in sustaining and maintaining the quality of life in humans. The effect of malnutrition on developing teeth is not clear but there is evidence that dental maturity is insulated from environmental insults, such as severe malnutrition, compared to the skeleton and other body systems. Oral health conditions, dietary practices, nutritional status and general health status are all inter-related factors.This paper gives an insight on the relationship of the malnutrition and the oral health status.
April 2019
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