Summary and conclusion

Good nutrition is essential for good physical health. Nutrition also plays a key role in the development and maintenance of a healthy mouth, especially the teeth and gums. The food we eat affects our teeth both before and after their eruption into the mouth. The relation of dental caries and periodontal diseases to the type and frequency of diet and to intake nutritional elements is well-known. At the same time, the health or lack of health of our teeth and gums can affect what we eat. Missing teeth are a factor in food choices and may affect individuals' ability to consume the necessary nutritional elements. Nutritional deficiencies in growing children, whether due to deprivation or mal-absorption syndromes may have significant impact on their natural development and somatic growth. The potential impact of eating disorders, chronic diseases and infection on overall health via physiologic and hormonal mechanisms has also been well established.

- Early childhood caries is a chronic disease with a form of rampant decay of the primary dentition distinguished by the specificity of tooth surfaces involved and the rapid progression of carious lesions on those surfaces. It is usually associated with the onset of acute or chronic pain and infection. It appears that the chronicity of childhood caries might have the same influence on a child's ability to sustain normal growth patterns as any other chronic disease or infection, and therefore caries may impact upon general health and well being. Numerous studies have reported the prevalence of the disease as to affect up to 70% of the childhood population, especially in socio-economically deprived population.

- Inadequacy of the host's immune-defences may play a role in the acquisition of carious lesions. However, feeding habits are more important, especially in early childhood, and the role of feeding habits and behaviors in producing dental decay in childhood has been established by numerous studies.

- It has been reported that childhood caries inhibits adequate nutrition, thereby adversely affecting the growth of the body, specifically weight. Children with childhood caries have been noted to be significantly more likely to weigh less than 80% of their age-adjusted ideal weight, thereby satisfying one of the criteria for failure to thrive.

- The phenomenon of catch-up growth has been reported to occur in children whose growth had been slowed by illness or malnutrition and a case report has suggested that children with low weight and carious teeth demonstrated significant weight gain following dental rehabilitation.

- However, although many studies of the role of a healthy mouth in dietary intake pattern and nutritional intake have been reported, but there are very few epidemiological or intervention studies concerning the association between the growth of children and their oral health or the role of diet and nutrition in this association.

- The most important issue to be gleaned from the literature is that health professionals, especially paediatricians, do not routinely consider the effect of oral health in growth due to lack of dental knowledge or awareness of the importance of a healthy dentition in overall health. It seems that dental health professionals could play an important role in highlighting this issue and like other primary health carers, could perhaps be helpful in diagnosing and managing these two important health problems through dietary advice and encouragement of appropriate feeding behavior. Therefore, by preventing one it may be possible to prevent, or at least reduce, the risk of the other.

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Responses

  • lobelia
    What are the summary of dental caries?
    7 months ago

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