There are many reasons why people might eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. For some, it’s for the sake of improving their physical fitness. Others, meanwhile, avoid meat or animal products out of ethical concerns. However, you likely haven’t considered how a vegan diet affects your oral health. Apparently, it can harm your pearly whites if you’re not careful. Still, you can avoid that pitfall with help from your Tyler dentist. Read on to learn ways vegan eating can hurt teeth and some related oral health tips.
A Vegan Diet *Could* Hurt Your Teeth
Whatever your view on food groups like meat and dairy, cutting them out of your diet can have unintended consequences. These include:
According to the ADA, vegans are at greater risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay. After all, animal products like fish, cheese, and milk are major sources of calcium and vitamin D. If you don’t find alternate sources of these nutrients, your tooth enamel and gums will suffer.
Snacking & Starchy Substitutes
Many vegans and vegetarians will snack throughout the day to compensate for a lack of energy. Unfortunately, that habit generates enamel-eroding acid and cavity-causing bacteria.
Adding insult to injury, some rely on grains and sugar products as substitutes for meat and dairy. Consequently, they put themselves at greater risk of cavities from carbs and starches.
Oral Health Tips for Vegan Dieters
Despite the issues above, a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to hurt your oral health. Just consider adding these tips into your daily routines:
- Be Careful of Snacking: If possible, avoid frequent snacking and stick closer to three square meals daily. Otherwise, opt for healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, and tofu.
- Eat Well-Balanced Meals: Since you’re only eating veggies, fruits, and the like, make sure your diet has enough calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. Getting plenty of broccoli, leafy greens, and soybeans would help.
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene: As you always should, brush your teeth twice daily, floss once daily, and rinse your mouth with fluoridated mouthwash.
While it could work for you, it’s important to consider how a vegan diet affects your oral health. That said, talk to your local dentist about ways your veggie eating can complement tooth care. They’ll be happy to help!
About the Practice
Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury is a dentist based in Tyler, TX, having earned his DDS from the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. He is also a member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, and the Smith County Dental Society. His work specializes in preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, as well as emergency dental treatments. Dr. Stansbury currently practices at Stansbury Dental and can be reached at his website or by phone at (903)-561-1122.