Linking oral health to nutrition

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Dietitians and dentists team up for oral health

Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) have teamed up with the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) in an attempt to use the influence of dieticians to inform the public of the health issues their eating habits are having on their teeth.

The link between oral health and nutrition is undeniable, with the statistics on sugary drinks acting like acid on teeth only one of the many impacts poor eating habits have on dental health.

The new initiative will focus on dietitians providing information on food that promotes good oral health.

“Nutrition and diet affect the development and progression of oral diseases—the two are naturally linked. If we improve what a person eats, their dental health will also improve,” said DAA CEO Claire Hewat.

Much of the conversation on nutritional health (up until now) has focused on diabetes and heart disease. Yet oral health costs are becoming a more serious issue for Australia and the new enterprise hopes to halt the rising cost of oral health by encouraging prevention through nutrition.

“The data tells us that oral health conditions are the second most expensive disease group to treat, after cardiovascular disease, with $8.7m spent Australia-wide on dental treatments in 2012-13,” said DHSV CEO Dr Deborah Cole.

“There is now increasing evidence that oral health is strongly linked with major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke, as well as adverse pregnancy outcomes,” said Hewat.

The groups are also hopeful that linking up dietitians with dental health care may help to prevent these other diseases.

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