Oral lesions in scurvy.Aust Dent J 2001; 46(4):298-300AD
Scurvy is the nutritional deficiency state associated with lowered levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Lack of ascorbic acid leads to suppression of collagen synthesis and the synthesis of defective collagen among other metabolic derangements. Weakening of vascular walls results in signs and symptoms mimicking other diseases such as bleeding diatheses and deep vein thrombosis. Scurvy is rarely encountered in Western countries where there is a broad community understanding of the importance of nutritional requirements and where foods containing ascorbic acid are readily available. As a result of these factors early diagnosis may be hampered where it is not considered in the differential diagnosis, and consequently, prolonged suffering of the patient. Scurvy is easily treated with high doses of oral ascorbic acid, although recurrences may occur. Education of health care providers in recognizing the signs and symptoms of scurvy therefore cannot be over emphasized, particularly in societies in which nutritional deficiencies are considered uncommon. A case of scurvy presenting primarily with oral manifestations is reported here.