Editorial Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional Deficiencies

Early last year Nutrition and Dental Health established the Dentists Dietetic Service, inviting dentists to send in to our staff dietitian for analysis, diets of patientswhom they felt from their dental findings needed dietary correction.

This service was inaugurated for two reasons, one to aid dentists in applying nutritional therapy, and the other to gather information and data on the eating habits of the American people, with a view of studying deficiencies in the dietary pertinent to dental health. The minerals and vitamins are of especial interest in this survey.

In the study of over a thousand diet analysis, we have found that a large percentage of the people are not consuming in sufficient quantities the food factors necessary for the maintenance of healthy tooth structure.

78% are lacking in Vitamin D intake, 30% are deficient in Vitamin C, and 11% in A and B. 60% are consuming less than 1 gram of calcium daily (the amount necessary for adequate maintenance). 49% are receiving an inadequate phosphorus intake and 40% of the diets analyzed lack sufficient iron.

While at first glance this percentage of calcium and phosphorus deficiency might seem large it must be realized that over 90% of the American people are suffering from dental caries, which many investigators believe to be closely associated with an inadequate calcium and phosphorus intake and utilization. Dr. Sherman of Columbia University has found that the average American dietary contains but 0.45 grams of calcium daily, which is insufficient. 1 gram represents the approximate daily requirement.

Closely associated with the calcium and phosphorus deficiency, is the Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is absolutely necessary to the proper utilization and assimilation of the calcic salts. One might be consuming an adequate amount of calcium and phosphorus, yet without a sufficient Vitamin D intake the body would be lacking in these factors. On the other hand if there is sufficient Vitamin D present in the system, the body can maintain a mineral balance with a lesser amount of calcium and phosphorus. One is dependent upon the other.

However, health, dental or systemic, cannot be maintained on the minerals and Vitamin D alone. All factors necessary to body functions must be supplied to avoid a breaking down of one part or another.

This survey shows that 30% of the diets are deficient in Vitamin C, which is the antiscorbutic factor, and in dentistry the one that influences tooth development and healthy tone of the soft tissues. It has been proven that the deficiency of Vitamin C causes a definite capillary fragility. From time to time Nutrition and Dental Health will review the findings of the Dentist’ Dietetic Service with the hope that it will indicate the dietary need from a dental standpoint.