Diagnostic Steps in Assessing Nutrient Deficiencies

  1. Determine the cause.
  2. Carefully review your medical history, medication list, and presenting symptoms with your physician/dentist.
  3. Physical examination is crucial to detecting deficiency conditions and possible etiologies.

Illness and infection can increase nutrient needs. Bacterial and fungal infections in the oral cavity, and the rest of the body, may alter tissue integrity, increasing nutrient utilization and compromising intake. For example, inflammatory bowel disease may cause deficiencies in vitamins B6, B12, and folate, trace elements such as zinc, and calcium and magnesium, due to digestion and absorption changes. Inadequate nutrient intake can result from poor dentition, tooth loss, ill-fitting dentures, mouth-dryness (xerostomia), and other systemic diseases. Poor-fitting dentures and chewing difficulties have resulted in inadequate intake of zinc, calcium, and vitamin B6.