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How Malnutrition Shows Up in Your Oral Health

Posted on 7/23/2020 by McDonald Office
Woman talking to her dentist during a dental exam at McDonald DDS in Plano, TXYour overall health and your oral health are integrally related to one another. This means that any health condition that impacts your whole body will also affect your mouth. Such conditions include HIV, diabetes, and heart disease. In turn, poor oral health affects the rest of your body. One health issue that significantly contributes to an unhealthy mouth is malnutrition. Like some other health issues, this condition affects your entire body, including your mouth. However, this condition can have effects on the mouth that can circle back around and contribute to the condition itself.

What Is Malnutrition?

Malnutrition is a condition that develops when your body isn't getting an adequate supply of vitamins, minerals, protein, and other nutrients. This change in your body's composition leads to an inability to maintain a healthy balance (homeostasis), which in turn leads to functional decline. There are various direct and indirect causes of malnutrition, including chronic health conditions, depression, certain medications, poverty, transportation barriers, impaired swallowing, and overall poor oral health.

How Are Malnutrition and Poor Oral Health Interrelated?

The simplest answer to this question is that when you don't get the proper amount of nutrients, your teeth and gums begin to weaken. Moreover, if you already suffer from malnutrition that is affecting your oral health, getting the right balance of nutrients can be difficult. This is typically largely due to tooth loss, severe decay, or advanced gum disease that makes chewing challenging and/or painful. As a result, you may avoid certain crunchy, healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. You may also simply eat as little as possible.

The interconnectedness of malnutrition and poor oral health is undeniable. However, how malnutrition can lead to itself due to its effects on oral health is also important to remember. The first signs of malnutrition in your mouth include tooth decay, inflamed and bleeding gums, and oral infections. However, prolonged malnutrition can lead to severely receding gums, advanced gum disease, bone loss, and tooth loss. All of these conditions can turn around and lead to a worse state of malnutrition. For more information about how malnutrition shows up in your oral health, contact McDonald & Luck DDS at (469) 649-0699 to schedule an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning.
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