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ADA urges NIH to include oral health in nutrition plan

December 17, 2018

By Jennifer Garvin

Bethesda, Md. — The ADA would like the National Institutes of Health’s Nutrition Research Task Force to include mention of the importance of oral health in the task force’s upcoming strategic plan.

In a Dec. 15 letter to Task Force Chair Griffin Rodgers, M.D., and Executive Secreatry Christopher J. Lynch, the ADA applauded the task force for “recognizing how the field of human nutrition research can be strengthened by conducting more cross-cutting research” but expressed disappointment that the draft plan contained little focus of the impact of oral health on the science of nutrition.

ADA President Jeffrey M. Cole and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin said the Association agrees that better research methods are needed to determine what strategies can have the greatest potential to foster healthy eating in real-world settings but noted the following concerns from the oral health perspective:

  • Dental caries was not listed as one of the top diseases associated with poor nutrition.
  • The few mentions of the oral microbiome and its relationship to the gut microbiome.

“The field of nutrition science can benefit from more research dissecting the relationship between diet, nutrition and oral health,” wrote Drs. Cole and O’Loughlin. “The Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research is an opportunity to promote more interdisciplinary research in that area.”

“We urge you to incorporate the enclosed changes in the draft strategic plan. Doing so would be a sign of progress in advancing the oral health goals and objectives in Healthy People 2020. It would also reinforce the dramatic shift in the way people view oral health — as an essential part of overall health and well-being,” they concluded.

Follow all of ADA’s nutrition advocacy at ADA.org/nutrition.