A VEGAN DIET IS SAID TO HAVE NUMEROUS OVERALL HEALTH BENEFITS; HOWEVER, IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR VEGANS TO BE MINDFUL OF HOW THIS LIFESTYLE CHOICE AFFECTS THEIR ORAL HEALTH.
Through the elimination of specific food groups, vegans potentially risk missing out on key nutrients that are vital for good oral health.
SHOULD VEGANS BE CONCERNED ABOUT ORAL HEALTH?
Many vegans are well-informed about maintaining healthy nutritious diets by consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains to obtain the nutrients they need. However, studies show that an adult eating a vegan diet for a continued period of time can be at an elevated risk for gum disease due to lack of calcium and Vitamin D. The absence of these essential nutrients can lead to the softening of teeth to over time, making them more susceptible to tooth decay. The good news is that vitamin D gets naturally produced in the body with sun exposure, so deficiencies are rare. However, deficiencies in calcium tend to be more common but can be easily remedied with a balanced diet. Additionally, arginine, an amino acid commonly found in poultry, fish, and red meat break down dental plaque, helping keep cavities at bay. This, in turn, results in vegans to miss out on the dietary plaque prevention.
WHAT CAN VEGANS DO TO IMPROVE THEIR ORAL HEALTH?
Studies have shown that healthy balanced diet consisting of a variety vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes, will allow vegans to get all the necessary nutrients. Additionally, adding soy milk, nutritional yeast, extra servings of green leafy vegetables, and vegetable margarine to the diet will also lessen the risk of vitamin deficiencies. Taking a daily multivitamin is also a good practice to adopt. Lastly, another way to improve a vegan’s oral health is to use mouthwashes and kinds of toothpaste that are boosted with arginine.
ABOUT DEAN SALO
Dr. Dean Salo is very experienced in the field of dentistry having over 25 years of experience in the profession. He specializes in everything from complex dental implants to simple dental checkups. He has a passion for dentistry and providing highly individualized care for all of his patients. For more information about Dr. Dean Salo, visit his website or his office at 6222 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 102 Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323.933.2400).