Dentist Dietetic Service

By Adequate and Inadequate Diets

Facilities of this department are now such that reports will be made on the patient’s diet within one week after it is received.

An accurate analysis of all foods consumed by the individual must be made in order to determine the adequacy of any diet. This adequacy means a definite amount of carbohydrate, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins for each individual and depends on age, height, weight, sex, occupation, and to some extent on heredity and temperament.

In order to make the analysis accurate the particular foods must be listed as to kind and specific amounts and all foods eaten must be listed.

As an illustration, for dinner, let us say we had meat, potatoes, vegetable, salad, dessert, and coffee. But –what kind of meat was that, lamb, pork, beef, or liver? It makes a decided difference, as liver is very high in iron but pork and lamb are not high. As to the vegetable, it might be cauliflower or tomato. The former is rich in calcium and phosphorus, the latter is not a particularly good source of either, but it is an excellent source of Vitamin C while the former is not. Then, too, were these vegetables plain boiled or did they have butter on them? In this same way we could go through the entire menu.

So it becomes necessary to specify the kinds of food eaten and also the amounts. To one person a serving of potato means one small potato while to another it means 2 or 3 small potatoes; tomato juice means a 4 ounce glass to one individual while to the next it means 6 to 8 ounces.

All these factors affect the analysis and its accuracy. So in sending a patient’s diet to the dietitian for recommendations and analysis please give a very complete list of foods and as much information about the patient as seems feasible.

Only through an accurate analysis can we determine the efficiency of a person’s diet. One may appear to be adequate, while upon analysis it may be far off in providing the necessary food elements. Two diets are herein presented, one adequate in all food factors and the other inadequate because of the omission of a few necessary foods.

Dr. Harold F. Hawkins states in an article appearing in this issue, that “Brief suggestions as ‘Eat more vegetables’ and ‘Drink more milk’ where there has been no real nutritional study of the case is not suitable diet advice.”



  • 4 ounces orange juice.
  • A whole grain cereal.
  • ½ cup cream.
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast and butter.
  • Black coffee.


  • 1 poached egg on ½ slice toast.
  • ½ pear and cream cheese salad.
  • 1 whole wheat roll and butter.
  • Apple sauce.
  • 1 glass milk



    • 4 ounces tomato juice, 2 Ritz crackers.
    • (Commercially canned tomato juice contains Vitamin C. Home prepared juice does not.)
    • Steak.
    • Creamed potatoes.
    • Buttered spinach.
    • Cabbage salad.
    • Custard
    • Glass milk.
    • (Supplement adequate amount of Vitamin D.)

This diet is complete in all food factors.


By the elimination of a few foods from the above diet we have the following one inadequate.


  • 4 ounces of orange juice.
  • A whole grain cereal.
  • ½ cup cream.
  • White toast and butter, 1 slice.
  • Coffee.


  • Pear salad.
  • 1 roll and butter.
  • Black coffee.


  • Steak.
  • Boiled potato, gravy.
  • Buttered carrots.
  • Tapioca pudding.
  • Tea, plain.
  • (No Vitamin D.)

This diet is low in calcium, phosphorus and iron. It is inadequate in Vitamin D and partially deficient in Vitamin C. Compare with the diet above and note how easily a diet may become inadequate for the dental needs.

The home care of the mouth and adequate instructions for rigid oral hygiene is obviously necessary and should need no emphasis. Here, however it is too often overlooked. No attempt at prevention should be made without proper emphasis on this routine.

The following information should accompany each diet submitted.
How often does the patient brush the teeth?
Does the patient use a mouth wash?
Does the patient use a paste or powder?
Has the patient been instructed as to home care of the mouth?