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Food for Thought: The Relationship Between Oral Health and Nutrition

Course Number: 583


anencephaly - Absence of bones of the cranial vault and cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres.

anticariogenic – A food that contributes favorably to dental health by discouraging acid production.

antioxidant –  Compounds that inhibit oxidation and prevent cell damage caused by free radicals.

beriberi – A vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency which causes loss of appetite, muscle weakness, enlarged heart, and burning tongue.

cariogenic – A fermentable carbohydrate that will cause a reduction of salivary and biofilm pH to less than 5.5, promoting tooth decalcification.

cariostatic – Caries-inhibiting.

celiac disease - An autoimmune reaction to eating gluten, causing intestinal inflammation.

cheilitis – Unilateral or bilateral presence of cracks in the corners of the mouth.

cholesterol – Waxy lipid found in all body cells; made by the liver and found only in animal products.

collagen – Connective tissue that helps support body structures such as skin, bones, teeth and tendons.

complex carbohydrate – Sugars containing more than 12 carbon atoms. Found in foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and beans.

cruciferous vegetables - A family of plants whose leaf structure resembles a cross. Examples include cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli and bok choy.

demineralization – The removal or loss of calcium, phosphate, and other minerals from tooth enamel.

diet history – A detailed dietary record which may include a 24 hour or 3, 5, and 7-day recall.

dysphagia – Difficulty swallowing.

encephalocele - Gap in the skull with herniation of the brain.

gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - A digestive disorder when the malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter allows digested food and bile to backwash into the esophagus.

fermentable carbohydrate – Carbohydrates that can be metabolized by bacteria in plaque to decrease the pH to a level where demineralization occurs.

glossitis – Inflammation of the tongue.

glycemic index - A number value assigned to ingested food which measures the rate at which it causes the level of glucose in the blood to rise.

HDL – High-density lipoproteins that remove cholesterol from the blood stream and is associated with a reduction of atherosclerosis and heart disease, also referred to as healthy cholesterol.

heme iron – Iron provided from animal sources.

homeostasis – To maintain a relatively stable state of equilibrium maintained by physiological processes.

hyperlipidemia – Elevated concentrations of triglycerides and/or cholesterol in the blood.

insulin – A hormone needed for cell utilization of carbohydrates.

lactose intolerance - The enzyme, lactase, no longer is available to break down the carbohydrate, lactose, in the small intestines.

LDL – Low-density lipoproteins that is associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis, also referred to as bad cholesterol.

legumes – A plant that grows from a pea or a pod.

non-heme iron – Iron provided from a plant source.

nutrient-dense – Containing a high percentage of nutrients in relation to the number of calories it provides.

osteomalacia - Calcium deficiency during growth years where bone mineralization is reduced.

osteopenia – A decrease in density, calcification, or insufficient synthesis of bone which may put an individual at risk for osteoporosis.

Phytonutrients – Chemical compounds found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and seeds that reduce inflammation in the body and promote positive health effects.

refined carbohydrate – Processed carbohydrates from which the fiber and bran have been removed, leaving only starch.

salivary gland hypofunction - Decreased volume of saliva leading to xerostomia.

spina bifida - Embryonic failure of fusion of one or more vertebral arches

vegan – A person who eats only a plant-based diet and consumes no foods of animal origin.7

villous - Finger shaped mucous membrane in the small intestine to assist with nutrient absorption.

xylitol – A sugar alcohol which can reduce S. mutans in the oral cavity.