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Food for Thought: The Relationship Between Oral Health and Nutrition

Course Number: 583

Young Adults

Young adults lead an active lifestyle by working and raising families. This is also the time basal metabolic changes occur, causing weight gain. Chronic diseases may start to slowly manifest such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Other digestive irregularities such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) inflammatory bowel disease, (IBD) and lactose intolerance can challenge the digestive process and limit dietary choices.

Oral changes may occur if best practices for biofilm control are not routine. Periodontal disease, bone loss and dental caries may become a concern during this lifecycle phase. Adults may also begin to experience root caries around the exposed roots of teeth and around existing dental fillings. This may also be associated with the onset of xerostomia, a condition of salivary gland hypofunction due to medications, hormones changes, dehydration, and other medical conditions.12

The goal of nutrition during adulthood is health promotion; maintain oral tissue and supporting structures and immune support. Encourage patients to stay physically active and follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to prevent future, chronic disease later in life.