How to Avoid Dental Issues for Vegan and Vegetarian Lifestyles
You know that what you eat directly impacts the health of your teeth but did you also realize that certain dietary habits including being vegetarian or vegan may actually result in vitamin deficiencies? Some vegetarians and vegans experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D and fiber putting them at increased risk for periodontal disease. If you do not eat meat or any animal-based food, it’s important to be aware of food alternatives and supplement options that can help you maintain not only oral health but whole body health.
Research has confirmed the importance of calcium for your teeth and bones. According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, calcium deficiencies are also directly linked to gum disease, which is a leading cause of tooth loss. Researchers discovered that people who consume less than the recommended daily amount of calcium are almost twice as likely to have periodontal disease, an infection caused by bacteria that accumulate between the teeth and gums.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are the best sources of calcium (ADA). However, for vegans, there are several other types of non-dairy sources of calcium that you can choose to ensure your daily calcium intake. Bean products, such as tofu, as well as sesame seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and green leafy vegetables particularly okra and curly kale are excellent choices and today, certain products like soy milk alternatives, bottled water, breakfast cereals and orange juice are also fortified with extra calcium.
Meat generally offers high fiber that help to clean teeth of food particles and sugars during the chewing process. However, fresh fruits and vegetable can provide similar increased saliva production that also neutralizes acids. Although fresh fruits and vegetables do contain carbohydrates that can be fermented by bacteria, the fiber content counteracts the effect and helps clean the teeth, therefore protecting against dental caries. The best choices to supplement fiber usually supplied by meats include high fiber, low-acid beans and legumes or whole grain products (Mayo Clinic).
There are also numerous supplement options you may want to consider to reach the recommended daily intake of key vitamins and minerals. These supplements also offer additional dental health benefits.
- Coenzyme Q10 promotes gum healing and cell growth
- Lysine combats canker sores
- Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids promotes healing, especially of bleeding gums
- alcium and Magnesium help prevent bone loss around the gums
- Vitamins A and E are needed for healing gum tissue
- Grape Seed Extract is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
- Zinc plus Copper enhances immune function
- Aloe Vera Gel eases inflamed gums and soothes the tissues when applied directly to the affected area
- Chamomile Tea is soothing to gum tissues
- Green Tea is helpful in decay prevention and decreases plaque
- Clove Oil is good for temporary relief of tooth and gum pain
- Echinacea keeps inflammation down and enhances immune function
Remember, before you begin any serious diet adjustments, it’s important to discuss them with your physician. At Dental Health and Wellness Boston, we welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your diet, nutritional choices and how they relate to your dental healthcare needs. Schedule your first appointment today!