Understanding Malnutrition & How It Leads To Tooth Loss

July 1, 2021 - By Bruce Michaelson
Understanding Malnutrition & How It Leads To Tooth Loss

Generally, malnutrition is a sensitive topic as it affects the overall well-being of a person. However, malnutrition has no exceptions when it comes to dentistry and is an equally essential element that contributes to enhanced oral health. If you’re a person who experiences dental issues often, then your diet could be partly to blame. As we all know, sugary foods are bad for oral health, but that doesn’t mean you can overlook the necessary nutrients that your teeth and gum require. This article will break down to you the concept of malnutrition and how it leads to loss of teeth.

What is malnutrition, and how it leads to tooth loss? 

As most of you’ll be aware, malnutrition, in simple terms, means a lack of proper nutrients that your body needs for effective and healthy functioning. It’s a complex condition that may lead to several changes in your body composition and contributes to functional decline. There are many reasons why people experience malnutrition. The most common reasons are transportation barriers, food insecurity, chronic conditions, medications, poverty, social isolation, frailty, depression, impaired swallowing, and poor oral health.

Like almost every other part of our body, even teeth are a living part of our body that can be severely affected when they don’t get the required nutrition. Teeth need nutrition to maintain healthy levels of enamel and to prevent tooth decay. Your teeth will absorb the good nutrients as a source of protection against acid and bacteria. When you are malnourished, these acids and bacteria in your mouth can take over all your teeth and cause tooth decay and many other oral health issues. When your tooth decay is severe for a prolonged period, it leads to your teeth being pulled and eventually resulting in tooth loss. 

When your teeth don’t get proper nutrients, it is difficult for your immune system to defend itself against infections. Such a condition increases the risk of developing periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Gum diseases are highly prone to cause tooth loss and can progress faster when people don’t get proper nutrition. 

Two primary essential nutrients for tooth health 

Many types of nutrients are essential for teeth and overall oral health. For easy understanding, we have broken down the two most vital nutrients for tooth health. 

Vitamin D 

Lack of vitamin D is one of the leading causes of tooth issues in the majority of people. Vitamin D is what allows us to absorb calcium. Our entire oral health and effective functioning of the oral system depends on calcium and vitamin D. When your body lacks Vitamin D, the ability of your teeth to absorb calcium reduces. This contributes to gum disease, tooth decay, and for children, underdeveloped teeth- which all cause tooth loss. You can get Vitamin D from exposure to morning sunlight for some time, milk, eggs, and fish. 


If you’ve been to a dentist, then it’s very likely to hear the emphasis they make on calcium and its importance for tooth health. This is because our bones and teeth are made up of calcium. When you lack calcium in the body, it will pull calcium out of the bones to correct the imbalance. When this happens, your tooth’s strength and structure can weaken, making it easier to decay and break, causing tooth loss. Legumes, dairy products, leafy greens, and almonds are good sources of calcium to include in your daily diet.

If you doubt that you may be suffering from any dental issues resulting from malnutrition, contact us at American Dental Clinic. We have two clinics located in the heart of 2 major cities for easy convenience: the American Dental Clinic in Dubai and The Advanced American Dental Center in Abu Dhabi. We have been providing a one-stop center for all dental services in the UAE since 1985 with a team of handpicked dentists of varying dental disciplines. 


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