Assess Your Oral Health

Visit the Delta Dental Risk Assessment Tool to examine common risk indicators and provide custom feedback to help you maintain a healthy smile.

Connect With Us

Print this Page Send to a Friend

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard by Malnutrition

Would you recognize malnutrition in a parent or grandparent? Malnutrition occurs when the body is not getting enough nutrients. It even can be caused by the lack of a single vitamin in your diet.

Possible causes of malnutrition in older people are waning senses of taste and smell, difficulty chewing, and depression. Sadly, malnutrition can lead to hip fractures and may contribute to dementia and periodontal (gum) disease. Eating well, however, can help an older adult manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and keep bones and muscles strong.

Look for signs of malnutrition. The symptoms can include dizziness, fatigue, muscle cramps, and bleeding gums.

At any age, it’s best to get vitamins and minerals from food, not pills. But the diets of some older people don’t contain enough vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D. In these cases, supplements might be a wise choice. To make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, talk with your doctor.

“Malnutrition.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, June 14, 2011. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/ article/000404.htm. Accessed 2013.

“Plans for Healthy Eating.” National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/whats-your-plate/plans-healthy-eating. Accessed 2013.

“Young at Heart: Healthy Eating.” Weight-Control Information Network, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health, updated January 2007. http://www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/young_heart.htm#e. Accessed 2013.

“Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium.” Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-QuickFacts/. Accessed 2013.

“Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12.” Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, June 26, 2011. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/. Accessed 2013.

“Diet and Dental Health.” American Dental Association.http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diet-and-dental-health. Accessed 2013.

“Eating Well as You Get Older.” Senior Health, National Institutes of Health, May 2012. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/benefitsofeatingwell/01.html. Accessed 2013.

“Nutrition for Everyone: Calcium and Bone Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 6, 2011. www.cdc.gov/nutrition/eve ryone/basics/vitamins/calcium.html. Accessed 2013.

“Undiagnosed Vitamin D Deficiency in the Hospitalized Patient.” D. Lyman. American Family Physician. January 15, 2005, vol. 71, no. 2, p. 245. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0115/p299.html. Accessed 2013.

"Bleeding Gums.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, February 22, 2012. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/ article/003062.htm. Accessed 2013.

“Vitamins.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, October 24, 2012. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/vitamins.htmlwww.fda.gov/ForConsumers/Consu merUpdates/ucm118079.htm. Accessed 2013.

“Fortify Your Knowledge About Vitamins.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, February 21, 2009.  www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm118079.htm. Accessed 2013.

“Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age.” NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, January 2012.  www.niams.nih.go v/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Nutrition/default.asp. Accessed 2013.

“Recent Developments in Vitamin D Deficiency and Muscle Weakness Among Elderly People.” G. Venning. BMJ. March 5, 2005, vol. 330, p. 525. Abstract: http://www.bmj.com/content/330/7490/524. Accesed 2013.

“Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D.” Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, June 24, 2011. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind/. Accessed 2013.

Author: Lieberman,Adrienne
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Back to Top