Position of the American Dietetic Association: oral health and nutrition

Riva Touger-Decker, Connie C Mobley
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2007, 107 (8): 1418-28
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that nutrition is an integral component of oral health. The American Dietetic Association 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 and nutrition have a synergistic bidirectional relationship. Oral infectious diseases, as well as acute, chronic, and terminal systemic diseases with oral manifestations, impact the functional ability to eat as well as diet and nutrition status. Likewise, nutrition and diet may affect the development and integrity of the oral cavity as well as the progression of oral diseases. 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. Dietetics practice requires registered dietitians to provide medical nutrition therapy 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. The multifaceted interactions between diet, nutrition, and oral health in practice, education, and research in both dietetics and dentistry merit continued, detailed delineation.

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