The role of diet and nutrition in the etiology and prevention of oral diseases. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Geneva, v. 83, n. 9, p. 694-699, Sept. 2005. Disponível em Scielo

Diet plays an important role in preventing oral diseases including dental caries, dental erosion, developmental defects, oral mucosal diseases and, to a lesser extent, periodontal disease. This paper is intended to provide an overview of the evidence for an association between diet, nutrition and oral diseases and to clarify areas of uncertainty. Undernutrition increases the severity of oral mucosal and periodontal diseases and is a contributing factor to life-threatening noma. Undernutrition is associated with developmental defects of the enamel which increase susceptibility to dental caries. Dental erosion is perceived to be increasing. Evidence suggests that soft drinks, a major source of acids in the diet in developed countries, are a significant causative factor. Convincing evidence from experimental, animal, human observational and human intervention studies shows that sugars are the main dietary factor associated with dental caries. Despite the indisputable role of fluoride in the prevention of caries, it has not eliminated dental caries and many communities are not exposed to optimal quantities of fluoride. Controlling the intake of sugars therefore remains important for caries prevention. Research has consistently shown that when the intake of free sugars is < 15 kg/person/year, the level of dental caries is low. Despite experimental and animal studies suggesting that some starch-containing foods and fruits are cariogenic, this is not supported by epidemiological data, which show that high intakes of starchy staple foods, fruits and vegetables are associated with low levels of dental caries. Following global recommendations that encourage a diet high in starchy staple foods, fruit and vegetables and low in free sugars and fat will protect both oral and general health.

WATT, Richard G. Strategies and approaches in oral disease prevention and health promotion. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Geneva, v. 83, n. 9, p.711-718, Sept. 2005. Disponível em Scielo

Oral health is an important element of general health and well-being. Although largely preventable, many people across the world still suffer unnecessarily from the pain and discomfort associated with oral diseases. In addition, the costs of dental treatment are high, both to the individual and to society. Effective evidence-based preventive approaches are needed to address this major public health problem. The aim of this paper is to outline public health strategies to promote oral health and reduce inequalities. An extensive collection of public health policy documents produced by WHO are reviewed to guide the development of oral health strategies. In addition a range of Cochrane and other systematic reviews assessing the evidence base for oral health interventions are summarized. Public health strategies should tackle the underlying social determinants of oral health through the adoption of a common risk approach. Isolated interventions which merely focus on changing oral health behaviours will not achieve sustainable improvements in oral health. Radical public health action on the conditions which determine unhealthy behaviours across the population is needed rather than relying solely on the high-risk approach. Based upon the Ottawa Charter, a range of complementary strategies can be implemented in partnership with relevant local, national and international agencies. At the core of this public health approach is the need to empower local communities to become actively involved in efforts to promote their oral health.