Oral manifestations of nutritional disorders

Stanislav N Tolkachjov, Alison J Bruce
Clinics in Dermatology 2017, 35 (5): 441-452
Nutritional deficiencies occur when body metabolic requirements are not matched by intake and absorption. Reasons for this discrepancy are numerous, but often social, economic, medical, and even psychiatric factors may play a role. Vitamins and minerals are required for appropriate rapid cell turnover of the oral mucosa. The oral cavity is a unique anatomic environment that may manifest early signs of nutritional disorders as well as other indicators of systemic disease. Knowledge of these oral manifestations and associated findings will allow a practitioner to consider a nutritional disorder when evaluating oral changes and, in turn, initiate appropriate therapy. A systematic approach to examination of the mouth and perioral skin is suggested. A detailed medical and social history complements the physical examination in identifying patients at risk for nutritional disorders and heightening the clinical suspicion to warrant additional nutritional screening. The rising prevalence of anorexia and bulimia, as well as fad diets, add to the population of patients at risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies that a clinician must now consider.


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