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Am J Otolaryngol. 2008 Nov-Dec;29(6):426-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2007.11.006. Epub 2008 Jun 16.

Gingival hypertrophy: a solitary manifestation of scurvy.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology and Head Neck Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


A 48-year-old woman presented with rapid onset hypertrophy of both the upper and lower gingiva. A detailed history and a diet nearly void of fruits and vegetables raised the suspicion of a possible deficiency of vitamin C. An estimation of the serum ascorbic acid level confirmed our suspicions (<0.12 mg/dL; normal range, 0.4-1.0 mg/dL) and a diagnosis of scurvy was confirmed. A course of 1000 mg/d of ascorbic acid was initiated that caused a dramatic resolution of the gingival lesions. Gingival hypertrophy has a large differential diagnosis; however, it is also known to be an extremely rare manifestation of scurvy. A high index of suspicion for scurvy is relevant given its low prevalence in developed nations and how easily remediable the disease can be, even when it presents in a severe form.

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