When do you counsel a dental patient? How can you initiate a conversation regarding nutrition into a regular prophylaxis appointment? It can as formal as having a patient record a 3, 5, or 7-day food diary and return for dietary counseling. Or an informal approach may involve talking chair side, providing visual aids, brochures, or having a patient record a 24-hour recall. Diet counseling in the dental practice should focus upon reducing oral risks from diet and promoting good nutrition for health. Patients should be referred to a Registered Dietitian if there is an underlying medical condition.
Table 7 will help determine when to counsel in the dental practice and when to refer a patient to a Registered Dietitian.
|When to Counsel||When to Refer|
When diet changes are indicated, keep it simple. Make small changes, and let the patient choose one or two goals to practice between dental appointments. As a clinician, be aware of patient’s cultural influence, education, current health status, and any financial restrictions that may inhibit food selection.7