BACKGROUND: Inflammation underlies many chronic diseases. The goal of nutritional support in such diseases is to provide adequate energy and nutrients to meet the increased requirements for synthesis of acute phase proteins, inflammatory mediators, antioxidant defenses and the promotion of tissue repair and restoration of cellular function.

CONCLUSIONS: Systemic inflammation alters utilization of various nutrients (fats, carbohydrates and protein) and promotes increased cellular consumption of key antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Some nutrients play a direct role in the resolution of inflammation. These relationships necessitate consideration of the adjunctive role of diet in the natural history of periodontitis.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Little is known about the role of nutrition in periodontitis. With rapid advances in molecular biology and nutritional genomics in particular, oral health scientists can address this important area of study.