Nutrition, dental caries and periodontal disease: a narrative review

J Clin Periodontol. 2017 Mar:44 Suppl 18:S79-S84. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.12672.


Aim: To provide a narrative review of the role of macro- and micronutrients in relation to dental caries, gingival bleeding and destructive periodontal disease.

Materials & methods: This review is based on systematic reviews (when available) and comparative human studies.

Results: Dental caries cannot develop without the presence of dietary fermentable carbohydrates, in particular sugar. The susceptibility to develop caries in the presence of carbohydrates may be influenced by genetics and micronutrients such as vitamin D. Gingival bleeding and destructive periodontal disease are sensitive markers to both abnormalities in macronutrient content (excessive carbohydrates or poly-unsaturated fat intake, deficient protein intake) and micronutrient intake (e.g. vitamin C and B12).

Conclusion: Dental caries and periodontal diseases are a sensitive alarm bell for an unhealthy diet, which predicts the future onset of the diseases of civilizations.

Keywords: dental caries; gingivitis; nutrition; periodontal disease; periodontitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Periodontal Diseases / etiology*