Malnutrition and dental caries: A review of the literature

W. J. Psoter, B. C. Reid, R. V. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Protein-energy malnutrition occurs when there are deficiencies in protein, energy foods or both, relative to a body's needs. This paper reviews the association of early childhood malnutrition with: (1) dental caries, (2) enamel hypoplasia, (3) salivary gland hypofunction, and (4) delayed eruption. Studies suggest that caries of the primary dentition is associated with early childhood malnutrition, though the effect on caries of the permanent dentition has essentially not been studied. Enamel hypoplasia, salivary glandular hypofunction and saliva compositional changes may be mechanisms through which malnutrition is associated with caries, while altered eruption timing may create a challenge in the analysis of age-specific caries rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalCaries research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Dental caries
  • Malnutrition
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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