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Risk Factors for Scurvy in Infants

Posted on 6/7/2021 by Rho Family Dentistry
Infantile scurvy or scurvy in infants is quite rare because breast milk is a rich source of Vitamin C. But infants who are fed cow milk or plant-based diets can develop scurvy due to the deficiency of Vitamin C in their bodies.

Infants that have scurvy are usually very irritable and anxious. It is difficult to calm them down or put them to sleep. In severe cases, they can appear to be paralyzed. They lie down, exhausted, with their arms and legs stretched out. Infants with scurvy also have stunted growth. Their bones are brittle and weak. Because of this, they are more prone to fractures and bleeding.

The risk factors for scurvy in infants are as follows:

Malnourished Mothers

Mothers who are malnourished during pregnancy are unable to pass on essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to their growing fetus. As a result, the baby too becomes malnourished and develops a severe deficiency of Vitamin C. When the baby is born, he or she may start to show the signs and symptoms of scurvy.

Digestive Disorders

Infants that have digestive disorders or intestinal infections are more prone to scurvy. The disruption of the digestive system affects their absorption of vitamin C from their mother's milk and their diet. As a result, their body becomes deficient in Vitamin C.

Lack of Breastfeeding

Mothers who are unable to or choose not to breastfeed their infants put their babies at risk of scurvy. Breast milk is a rich source of Vitamin C. Just 750ml of breast milk contains 30mg of vitamin C. Infants who are fed breast milk for up to 2 years of age are a lot healthier and smarter as compared to the ones who are fed formula milk or cow milk because the process of pasteurization removes vitamin C from the milk.

Restricted Diet

Infants who are on prolonged dietary restrictions – may be due to other medical conditions – are at the risk of developing scurvy. These dietary restrictions will inhibit their intake of Vitamin C and lead to the development of infantile scurvy. According to the Dietary Guidelines of Americans, infants who are less than 6 months old need at least 40mg of vitamin C per day. Infants who are between the ages of 6 to 12 months need at least 50mg of Vitamin C per day. Anything lower than this will put them at the risk of scurvy.

If your infant is suffering from scurvy or if you need more information on infantile scurvy, then give us a call at (916) 562-2755 and schedule your consultation today.

Jeffrey J. Rho, DDS

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2525 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95816-5114

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