Oral Health and Nutrition

Volume 113, Issue 5; pages 693-701 (May 2013)

Abstract

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that nutrition is an integral component of oral health. The Academy supports integration of oral health with nutrition services, education and research. Collaboration between dietetics practitioners and oral health care professionals is recommended for oral health promotion and disease prevention and intervention. Scientific and epidemiological data suggest a lifelong synergy between diet, nutrition and integrity of the oral cavity in health and disease. Oral health and nutrition have a multifaceted relationship. Oral infectious diseases, as well as acute, chronic and systemic diseases with oral manifestations, impact an individual's functional ability to eat and their nutrition status. Likewise, nutrition and diet can affect the development and integrity of the oral cavity and progression of oral diseases. As knowledge of the link between oral and nutrition health increases, dietetics practitioners and oral health care professionals must learn to provide screening, education and referrals as part of comprehensive client/patient care. The provision of medical nutrition therapy, including oral and overall health, is incorporated into the Standards of Practice for registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered. Inclusion of didactic and clinical practice concepts that illustrate the role of nutrition in oral health is essential in education programs for both professional groups. Collaborative endeavors between dietetics, dentistry, medicine and allied health professionals in research, education and delineation of practice roles are needed to ensure comprehensive health care. The multifaceted interactions between diet, nutrition and oral health in practice, education and research in both dietetics and dentistry merit continued, detailed delineation.