Nutrition is Important for Oral Health

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has published a position paper on oral health and nutrition which looks at the current research literature to support that nutrition is an important component of oral health. The paper promotes the view that dietitian nutritionists should collaborate with oral health care professionals to help in disease prevention.

The paper states

“Oral health and nutrition have a synergistic multidirectional relationship. Oral infectious diseases, as well as acute, chronic, and terminal systemic diseases with oral manifestations impact functional ability to eat as well as diet and nutrition status. Likewise, nutrition and diet can affect the development and integrity of the oral cavity as well as the progression of oral diseases.”

The paper was published in the the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in May 2013, and is available for download at http://www.eatright.org/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=8426.

The paper suggests that health care professionals should discuss the importance of food choices to help ensure the best oral health possible. The paper encourages nutritionists to educate their patients and clients about the important aspect of nutritional health and how it can to lead to better oral health.

The paper suggests that eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods can help reduce the risk of cavities. The paper suggests that consuming less foods high in acid, such as fruit juices, sour candies, and citrus fruits may help reduce the risk of dental erosion and cavities. The paper argues that consuming soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks can increase the risk of developing dental erosion and cavities and hence should be limited in the diet. The paper suggests that eating whole grain and low sugar bread and cereal can decrease the risk of developing cavities. The paper suggests to avoid eating sticky retention foods such as raisins alone.

The paper further states

“…studies are needed that demonstrate the effect of oral conditions and treatments on diet/nutrition status and the reverse, effect of diet/nutrition status on oral integrity. The determination of biomarkers and behavioral and outcomes markers are needed along with translational and outcomes research to explore and demonstrate relationships between nutrition, diet, and oral health and disease, as well as the impact of each on the other in prevention and intervention.”

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