Oral Nutritional Health Risk Assessment: A Systematic Approach

Review Article

J Dent & Oral Disord. 2016; 2(2): 1013.

Oral Nutritional Health Risk Assessment: A Systematic Approach

Naik PR¹, Ravikiran A¹, Samatha Y¹, Nayyar AS²* and Vijay Kumar A¹

¹Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Sibar Institute of Dental Sciences, India

²Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Saraswati- Dhanwantari Dental College and Hospital and Post- Graduate Research Institute, India

*Corresponding author: Nayyar AS, Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Saraswati-Dhanwantari Dental College and Hospital and Post-Graduate Research Institute, India

Received: February 27, 2016; Accepted: April 26, 2016; Published: April 28, 2016


A nutrient is a chemical that an organism has to exist and grow or a substance used in an organism’s metabolism which must be taken in from its milieu, which enriches the body. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate the body processes and converted to and used as energy. Nutrition is a fundamental constituent of all living beings. There is a constant synergy between nutrition and the integrity of the oral cavity in health and disease. The World Health Organization defines malnutrition as the cellular imbalance between supply of nutrients and energy and the body’s demand for them to ensure growth, maintenance, and specific functions, often, the very early signs of sub-optimal nutritional status are initially seen in the oral cavity, which has been described as a “mirror of nutritional status”. Dental health professionals are, therefore, in a position to be the first to notice compromised nutrition, and a sound knowledge of the symptoms and signs permit them to take the appropriate action. For this, one should go in a systematic approach to assess the oral nutrition health risk of an individual. Hence, we are presenting herewith, might be a first of its kind of review, about how to approach to oral nutritional health risk assessment in a systematic way.

Keywords: Nutrition; Risk assessment; Dental health professionals; Oral health


Nutrition is to be taught of how food affects the body, and is the sufficient provision of materials like vitamins, minerals, fiber, water and other food components to cells and organisms, to support life [1]. Nutrition affects oral wellbeing, and oral health affects nutrition. Nutrition is a key factor in disease and inflammation. An ample number of reports emphasize the synergistic association between malnutrition, infectious diseases and the immune system [2]. A responsibility for dental health professionals in providing dietary recommendation is being encouraged, and consequently knowledge of the consequences of compromised nutritional status on the oral health is necessary in order to accomplish this vital role, thereby, mandating, the dental health professionals to identify when a patient needs to be referred to a dietitian, and, similarly, dietitians should recognize the oral symptoms of nutritional deficiencies [3]. It is the responsibility of dental health professionals and dietitians to carryout the baseline assessment of oral and nutritional status and provide appropriate education, and refer patients accordingly to the suitable healthcare professionals [4]. The risk assessment process for dental health professionals and dietitians might differ to some extent in the approach; however, the outcomes and goals, in either case, are alike.

The aim of oral nutritional health risk assessment

The most imperative aim of oral nutritional health risk assessment is early recognition and intervention to lessen the occurrence and severity of nutritional risks and to maximize response to treatment.

Determining oral nutritional health risk

Nutritional risk factors are defined as “characteristics that are associated with an increased likelihood of poor nutritional status” [5]. The type and extent of these risk factors determines the nutritional risk. For this, dental health professionals should know the various risk factors as shown in Table 1. Nutritional risk assessment includes subjective statements in relation to the diet, oral well-being, biting and chewing capability, weight history as well as objective evaluation of the height, weight, and the state of the oral cavity. In addition to this, more extensive physical and laboratory evaluation becomes necessary when patients with complex medical histories are subjected to nutritional risk assessments [6].