Diet advice in dental setting can change habits

A new report suggests that one-to-one dietary interventions in the dental setting can change patients’ eating habits.

But the study, published this week, suggests that evidence is greater for interventions aiming to change fruit and vegetable and alcohol consumption than for those aiming to change patients’ intake of sugar.

The Cochrane review, One-to-one dietary interventions undertaken in a dental setting to change dietary behaviour, aimed to determine whether efforts by dentists and other dental staff members are successful in changing patients’ diets.

The investigation was limited to looking at studies where diet advice was given in a dental surgery or similar place, and where the advice was given by one member of staff to an individual patient.

The oral health group identified five studies: two of these were concerned with diet advice given concerning general health (one was about alcohol and one was about fruit and vegetable consumption).

In both these studies there was a change to healthier behaviour following the advice.

The group also identified three studies that attempted to change sugar consumption habits in order to reduce dental decay.

However, in two out of these three studies there were also other types and forms of advice given at the same time, i.e. tooth-brushing.

It was therefore impossible to say whether changes in diet came about because of the diet advice given or because they were subtly influenced by the other messages.

The group concluded that there is a need for more studies, particularly in the dental practice setting, as well as greater methodological rigour in the design, statistical analysis and reporting of such studies.



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