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Pediatr Dent. 2010 Nov-Dec;32(7):536-8.

A rare case of scurvy in an otherwise healthy child: diagnosis through oral signs.

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Department of Medical-Surgical Specialities. Unit of Oral Surgery, Institute of Clinical Dentistry, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.


The purpose of this paper was to report the case of a 2-year-old Caucasian female who was referred with a presumed diagnosis of pediatric rheumatoid arthritis. The patient presented widespread gingival swelling with bleeding, sharp pain, and halitosis. The patient also presented pain and swelling of the right knee joint, and psychomotor restlessness associated with muscular frailty. Little compliance on the part of both the patient and parents was also noted. Oral manifestations, together with an accurate medical history, led to the diagnosis of infantile scurvy, caused by an inadequate dietary supply of vitamin C. Administering 250 mg of ascorbic acid orally twice a day led to the remission of gingival swelling and of the other symptoms. The parents were advised to feed the child appropriate foods. Nutritional problems are traditionally linked to an insufficient availability of food, but can also be associated with child- or family-related psychological problems.

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