Switching to a plant-based diet has become very popular in recent years. Many people around the globe are opting for some variation which revolves around the strategy to avoid eating meat and dairy products.
Whether you consider yourself to be a vegan, vegetarian, or you’re just minimizing meat and dairy consumption, there are some things you should be aware of. While a plant-based diet can be helpful and suitable for some, others experience certain difficulties and troubles. One of those is associated with dental health. If your teeth and gums are showing signs of deterioration, maybe you should consider the following tips.
Know Exactly What You Eat
A lot of people who go vegan end up having some sort of health-related problem. This happens mostly because they’re not fully aware of things they’re consuming – whether it’s the food or drinks. Some of those people think that they’ll solve all their potential health problems simply by switching to a vegan diet, but this is so far away from the truth. The reality of things is much different. Only a well-balanced, healthy diet can improve a person’s overall well-being.
Even a vegan diet can be unhealthy, and that’s something many people don’t realize. If you’re eating a lot of sugary foods, and consume simple carbs and saturated fats your body will respond in a bad way. Your teeth and gums will certainly be hugely affected by bad diet choices.
What Are Some of the Dental Problems That May Arise?
Removing meat and dairy products and replacing them with poor choices lacking in essential vitamins and minerals can increase your risk of plaque, cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Higher risks of plaque and tooth decay also happen to those who tend to snack between meals, which is something many vegans do. Maintaining good oral habits is paramount in that case – brushing the teeth regularly, flossing, and regular check-ups at the dentist should prevent some of these issues.
What Causes These Dental Problems?
The vegan diet can be either good or bad for your dental health, depending on the food you consume on a regular basis. If you want to have strong, pearl-like white teeth that are resilient to cavities, you should make sure to consume the foods that are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
A vegan-friendly diet often time lacks the things that are so important for healthy teeth. Calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) are all crucial to having good teeth and healthy gums. But are sometimes less available in foods that vegans predominantly eat.
What Should You Eat For Better Teeth?
If you’re suffering from calcium deficiency, you should try to find some vegan-friendly alternatives that can replace the dairy products (these are especially rich in calcium). Non-dairy beverages that are fortified with calcium are something that you should consider. There are plenty of options on the market, like orange juice, soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, etc. You can also get enough calcium if you eat foods like tofu, beans, kale, spinach, bok choy, or other leafy greens.
Phosphorus is also a mineral which you should consume regularly in order to keep your teeth and gums in good condition. Phosphorus is found in seafood, meat, and cheese, but there are also some vegan options and plant-based alternatives like soybeans, nuts/nut butter, lentils, grains, pumpkin seeds, and so on.
As far as Vitamin B12 goes, vegans probably have trouble maintaining sufficient levels of this particular vitamin the most. It’s very rare that you can find good sources of B12 anywhere in plants, so most vegans need to take supplements. Iron and Vitamin D deficiencies are also common in vegans, but there are some non-meat ingredients that contain higher levels of these minerals and hormones. Your teeth will get better and stronger if your body produces enough Vitamin D. For instance, in some cases the levels of Vitamin D can be increased enough solely through exposure to sunlight.
Having healthy, good looking teeth and gums can be a real challenge sometimes, especially in those who are strong proponents of a plant-based diet. Those people should be extra careful about what they eat, as they can cause harm to their dental health.
The same thing can also be said to those who’re consuming meats and dairy products, of course. If you’re serious about maintaining good oral health, you should definitely pay more attention to what you eat on a regular basis, no matter what diet you adopt.
About the Author
Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year-long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.