JOURNAL ARTICLE

Position of the American Dietetic Association: Oral health and nutrition

Riva Touger-Decker, Connie C Mobley
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2003, 103 (5): 615-25
12728223
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) that nutrition is an integral component of oral health. The ADA supports the integration of oral health with nutrition services, education, and research. Collaboration between dietetics and dental professionals is recommended for oral health promotion and disease prevention and intervention. Scientific and epidemiological data suggest a lifelong synergy between nutrition and the integrity of the oral cavity in health and disease. Oral health is an integral part of systemic and nutritional health. Two primary oral infectious diseases are directly influenced by diet and nutrition. Dental caries or tooth decay is modulated by numerous factors, including diet composition and frequency. Periodontal or gum disease is associated with malnutrition. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that are modulated by diet and nutrition intervention have oral sequelae. As we advance in our discoveries of the links between oral and nutrition health, practitioners of both disciplines must learn to provide screening, baseline education, and referral to each other as part of comprehensive client/patient care. The future of dietetics practice requires dietetics professionals to provide medical nutrition therapy (MNT) that incorporates a person's total health needs, including oral health. Inclusion of both didactic and clinical practice concepts that illustrate the role of nutrition in oral health is essential in both dental and dietetic education programs. Collaborative endeavors between dietetics and dentistry in research, education, and delineation of health provider practice roles are needed to ensure comprehensive health care to persons with oral infectious disease and/or oral manifestations of systemic diseases.

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