Nutrition is vital to a person’s oral health — and therefore to their overall health. Collaboration between registered dietitian nutritionists, dietetic technicians, registered and oral health-care professionals is recommended for health promotion, disease prevention and intervention, according to a new practice paper published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The practice paper “Oral Health and Nutrition” has been published on the Academy’s website for Academy members and is available to the public for purchase. A practice paper is a critical analysis of current research literature that enables Academy members to translate nutrition science into the highest-quality advice and services.
This practice paper supports the Academy’s position paper on oral health and nutrition, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in May 2013. It is the position of the Academy that nutrition is an integral component of oral health.
According to the practice paper, nutrition assessment is essential for identifying dietary intake and nutritional factors that may affect a person’s oral health. Health-care professionals should address the importance of food choices to help ensure optimal oral health by explaining how oral health status can affect their food intake.
“The multifaceted interactions between diet, nutrition and oral health in practice, education, and research in both dietetics and dentistry merit collaborative efforts to ensure comprehensive care for patients and clients,” according to the practice paper’s authors.
The practice paper encourages food and nutrition practitioners to educate their patients and clients on important aspects of nutritional health that lead to oral health:
• Consuming fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt without added sugar helps reduce an individual’s risk of cavities.
• Consuming fewer foods that are high in acid — such as fruit juices, pickled foods, sour candies, citrus fruits and wine — may decrease an individual’s risk of dental erosion and cavities.
• Consuming fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit drinks may also decrease a person’s risk of dental erosion and cavities.
• Seeking guidance from registered dietitian nutritionists about healthy food choices and regular oral health care can help improve nutritional and oral health status.
The paper is online at: www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8384