If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is important that you are aware of the impact these diets can have on your teeth and overall oral health. While there are numerous benefits of following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, your teeth depend on certain nutrients to remain strong and healthy. Vegetarians and vegans might be missing some key nutrients by avoiding certain foods. Here’s what you need to know.
A Higher Risk of Tooth Decay?
While there have not been enough studies to find any conclusive proof, German researches found an interesting correlation: vegetarians had far better periodontal health than meat-eaters, but the reverse was true for dental health. However, the study shouldn’t be taken as conclusive until more research in this area is done.
Getting the Right Nutrients
A vegetarian diet can be deficient in recommended amounts of key vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin D, calcium, and protein. When it comes to vitamin D, deficiencies can sometimes occur in those who don’t eat fish or drink milk. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends adding soy milk or vegetable margarine to your diet to boost vitamin D counts.
Protein: Teeth Strengthener
Protein is an essential nutrient that your body uses to help keep your teeth strong. The phosphorous contained in protein is also helpful for strengthening your jaw. But if you are a vegan, you will need to consider finding alternative sources for protein since common sources such as meat and eggs are not part of your diet. Dried lentils and mixed nuts can provide you with plenty of protein.
The Benefits of Plant Based Diets
According to the National Institutes of Health, diets that primarily include plants, fruits, and vegetables are one way of reducing your risk of developing oral cancer. You can talk to our doctor for more information about oral cancer and your risk factors.
Steps You Can Take
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, we recommend finding a comprehensive multi-vitamin to help you get nutrients you might be lacking. Your doctor is a good resource to ask about the right multi-vitamin for you. Be sure to maintain regular visits to our office. We can help you assess potential problem areas in your mouth. By keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine, you can lower your risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Your diet has a tremendous impact on your teeth and your overall oral health. Your mouth depends on a balanced diet, daily oral hygiene, and regular check-ups. But for vegetarians and vegans, it might be helpful in making extra effort to ensure you still receive the proper nutrients your teeth need.
Matthew H. Wallengren DDS of Baltimore
600 Wyndhurst Ave., Suite 270, Baltimore, MD 21210