Nutrition and health: guidelines for dental practitioners

Authors

  • C Palacios,

    1. Nutrition Program, School of Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
    Search for more papers by this author
  • KJ Joshipura,

    1. Center for Clinical Research and Health Promotion, School of Dental Medicine, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • WC Willett

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Cristina Palacios, PhD, Nutrition Program, Graduate School of Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR 00935, USA. Tel: +1 787 758 2525; ext 1460, Fax: +1 787 759 6719, E-mail: cristina.palacios@upr.edu

Abstract

Good nutrition is vital to overall health, and poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Nutritional factors are implicated in many oral and systemic diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, dental caries and some cancers including oral cancers. This review focuses on the evidence for the relations between key nutritional factors and health. Energy intake is related to body weight and obesity, highlighting the importance of lower-energy diets and regular physical activity for body weight maintenance and for preventing obesity. Evidence is presented for the health benefits of high quality carbohydrates, such as whole grain products, and fruits and vegetables, in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The adverse effects of sugar, sweetened beverages, and trans and saturated fats on several diseases including caries, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are described. The health benefits of unsaturated fats, antioxidants, B vitamins and vitamin D in cardiovascular disease, periodontitis, cancer, and other conditions are documented. Both benefits and harmful effects of dairy product intake on health are discussed. Based on the evidence, nutritional guidelines are provided, as well as key recommendations for preventing obesity. Dentists can play a critical role in motivating and enabling healthy food choices.

Ancillary