Lactose intolerance and oral health: A public health promotional perspective

Ramprasad Vasthare, Elaine Karman Choong, Prajna P. Nayak, Ramya Bhagavath, Shanthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The percentage of individuals with lactose intolerance and milk allergy is rising in the populations world wide, with some races showing more predilection towards intolerance. It is being increasingly seen in adults, in addition to its known effects on children. Objective: To assess the potential effects of lactose intolerance on oral health. Background: Individuals affected by lactose intolerance often practise dairy-exclusion diets to avoid symptoms provoked by lactose intake. This dietary restriction results in a significant lower intake of calcium among affected subjects. Substitution of dairy products with other soy-based or lactose-free food may also have a local effect to the oral environment. The aim of this review is to summarize the relevant studies which have been conducted in this area and identify areas which need further investigation. Method: The authors retrieved relevant literatures from searches of electronic databases (Google Scholar, PubMed and Scopus), hand searches of the references of retrieved literature and authoritative texts. Terms searched included the following: Lactose intolerance, oral health, milk allergy, milk, dairy, dental, teeth, lactase deficiency, lactose and tooth loss. Discussion: The effects of dietary restrictions in lactose-intolerant subjects on dental caries, periodontal diseases, osteoporosis and ridge resorption, dental fluorosis and the role of probiotics are discussed. Conclusion: The association between lactose intolerance and oral health is ambiguously defined. Till date, it appears that not many studies have been done to investigate the relationship between lactose intolerance and oral health. More studies of higher level of evidence are required to further examine and confirm the effect of lactose intolerance on oral health. Keywords: Lactose intolerance, oral health, milk allergy, dairy, lactase deficiency

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalIndian Journal of Public Health Research and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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