Have you ever wondered how taking on a plant-based diet could impact your dental health? While plant-based diets are pretty healthy lifestyles, the health of your bones- including your teeth– can actually suffer from it as a result.
You have to be careful.
Some studies have found that vegans and vegetarians are actually more likely to suffer from tooth decay, and with more acidic levels in your mouth, and less saliva production than a majority of people, it can be somewhat destructive.
It turns out that a reason for this is that when you take some foods out from your diet, this can actually make you deficient in some nutrition and vitamins such as Calcium, vitamin D, and such, which actually support the health of your teeth.
You can supplement your diet to ensure your smile is always healthy and fresh, even when you are on a vegan diet.
Let’s talk about some things that you should be thinking of when you follow a vegan diet, and how you can maintain good dental health to stop your teeth from suffering.
Vegan Diet Risks
So, what are the risks associated with a vegan diet? Let’s talk about this.
#1. Low Calcium Intake
Your body requires calcium to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Dairy and fish are very important excellent sources of calcium, however, for vegans, this is not an option.
If you are vegan, you need to supplement your diet with a lot of plant-based calcium sources.
These sources often include bok choy, soybeans, kale, tofu, almond, broccoli, and nut milk.
#2. Low Vitamin D Intake
You need Vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium in the first place, with the best sources of vitamin D coming from the sun, fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk.
In order to ensure you get enough vitamin D, you need to spend time outdoors and in the sun. However, you could supplement this vitamin, or even get a bit of vitamin D from plant-based foods. Mushrooms are a great option!
#3. Low Amino Acid Intake
Vegan diets can lead to a lack of amino acids. One of these is arginine which is often found in poultry, fish, meats, and dairy. Amino acids such as arginine can prevent you from getting gum disease and cavities, as they break down plaque that would build up on your teeth.
Amino acids are often found in large amounts of meat, but you can also find it in pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, and so on.
#4. Grazing & Snacking Between Meals
Being vegan often leads to a lot of snacking between meals (believe me, I know), in order to meet the nutritional requirements of your body.
While eating is great, and getting your nutrition is necessary, constantly having something in your mouth, and putting your teeth in contact with food so much puts you at high risk for plaque buildup and cavities.
It is very important to limit your snacking and to maintain good dental hygiene. Keep brushing, flossing, and use mouthwashes. Always visit your dentist, regularly, with 6-month check-ups.
#5. High Sugar Intake
Would you believe that vegans also tend to have a higher likelihood of dental erosion thanks to high acidic food intakes, as well as foods that are high in natural sugars, such as fruits?
Relying on foods that are hefty in scratches such as pasta can also lead to cavities, as starch-based foods will get broken down into sugars.
You should try to limit how much you eat these foods, and keep drinking water to ensure your saliva flow is healthy and that your mouth pH is not damaged.
How Can You Keep Your Teeth Healthy On A Vegan Diet?
It is not just your diet that can affect your dental health. There are plenty of other things that affect the health of your mouths, such as lifestyle, genetics, personal health, and dental hygiene.
Also, consider the level of fluoride in your water.
Take some steps to ensure that your dental health stays healthy, no matter what type of diet you are on:
- Keep your sugar-based food and acidic-based food intake to a minimum.
- Wait 30-60 minutes after you have eaten to brush your teeth to prevent eroding your enamel.
- Follow a balanced diet, plant-based or otherwise.
- Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and use fluoride toothpaste, do so twice a day, and floss each day also.
- Try to refrain from frequent snacking.
- Rinse with water, or drink water after meals.
If a vegan diet is ideal for you, and you are worried about your dental health, you can always consult your dentist about it. Dentists will have plenty of advice on how you can look after your teeth to prevent issues on a vegan diet.
How Do Vegans Keep Teeth Healthy?
The best way to keep teeth healthy on a vegan diet is to follow a well-balanced plant-based diet, and ensure you minimize your acidic and sugar-based snacks. Become more stringent with brushing, flossing, and water consumption after meals.
So, Can a Vegan Diet Harm Your Teeth?
It can if you do not intake the nutrients your body needs. That doesn’t mean that going vegan will definitely harm your teeth, it just means that you will need to make sure that you eat the right food, so you can get everything your body needs.
Alternatively, you can always supplement with supplements.
Do Vegans Have Less Plaque?
While some may believe that vegans have less plaque than those on a meat-based diet, vegans actually tend to suffer from higher plaque risks, as well as higher risks of gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay.
This is thanks to a lack of vitamins and nutrients, but mainly due to some more acidic and sugary substitutions.
How To Remineralize Teeth On A Vegan Diet?
If you need to remineralize your teeth on a vegan diet, make sure you ingest more minerals and apply extracts and herbs.
Drink as much water as you can and stop using fluoride-based toothpaste.
Do not forget to always avoid brushing straight after a meal.
If you eat well on a vegan diet, you shouldn’t have to worry about your teeth or your health. You just need to ensure that you get all the needed nutrients from your vegan diet, through food or supplementation.
This guide is not saying that if you are vegan, you will have bad teeth, non-vegans have bad teeth too, it all comes down to how you eat, and what you eat. Eat those salads, and take your vitamins, don’t be a junk-food vegan. and you should be okay!