Nutritional Counseling in the Dental Practice
Dental healthcare professionals have long established that nutritional counseling for caries prevention is a critical part of our preventative mission. However, emerging data suggest that the role of nutrition in the development, disease progression, and healing potential after periodontal therapy may be significant and should be considered in a dietary analysis to develop a risk assessment for all oral diseases. Tools such as the Rapid Eating Assessment for Participants (short version) (REAP-S) can be utilized chairside to assess a patients’ nutritional intake and may be particularly informative in assessing the overall impact of macronutrients on oral health (Figure 3).80,81 More targeted assessments and/or laboratory testing may be recommended in patients with other signs of micronutrient deficiencies or in high risk individuals (e.g., Stage IV or Grade C patients). Further, dietary recommendations that include the consumption of more whole food nutritional sources and less processed foods can postiviely impact appropriate consumption of macronutrients and micronutrients. The current findings also suggest that a diet that includes lower proportions of refined carbohydrates, including more carbohydrates from whole food sources and fiber, higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, high in casein and whey proteins, and an inclusion of foods with antioxidant properties may promote more optimal periodontal health.