Do you follow a meat-free diet? Even if you’re not, you’re probably thinking about making that lifestyle change soon. Veganism is a trend that has been on the rise for years now. There are many reasons why people have decided to follow this plant-based diet, including animal welfare, environmental impact, or lowering cholesterol. Although it may seem like a healthier lifestyle, it can be detrimental to your bone health if you’re not careful. That said, read on to learn more about how a vegan diet can affect oral health.
What Is Veganism?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what veganism is. In a nutshell, it’s a lifestyle free of animal products. They don’t eat meat, dairy products, eggs, or honey. Some vegans take it a step further and avoid leather, fur, and other products tested on animals. As mentioned earlier, there are several different reasons why someone may decide to go vegan.
How Does a Vegan Diet Affect Oral Health?
Most people can follow a meat-free diet and still lead a healthy lifestyle. However, the American Dietetic Association has stated that vegans may face certain risks to their dental health. Some of those include:
Vegans are at an increased risk of developing oral health issues because they forego all the traditional sources of essential nutrients. For instance, there’s a significant lack of vitamin D and calcium in a vegan diet. The human body needs calcium to support healthy teeth and gums, while vitamin D is necessary to absorb it. Some excellent vegan sources of these nutrients are soybeans, broccoli, almonds, and mushrooms.
Lack of Amino Acids
Amino acids are incredibly important for your body. Even though nine are considered essential, your body needs 20 different ones to grow and function properly. Arginine is a crucial amino acid that helps prevent cavities and gum disease by breaking down dental plaque. You can find it in soy products, chickpeas, lentils, and pumpkin seeds.
Many vegans tend to snack more frequently to meet their body’s nutritional needs. Unfortunately, constant snacking can be harmful to your smile because your teeth are in frequent contact with food. Every time you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feed on food particles, producing harmful acids that attack the enamel. As a result, it puts you at an increased risk of plaque and cavities.
Tips to Keep Your Smile Healthy
If you’re planning on becoming a vegan, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Eat well-balanced meals that meet all your nutritional needs
- Avoid frequent snacking and choose healthy snacks whenever possible (i.e., nuts, seeds, tofu, vegetables)
- Limit your intake of sugary, acidic, fatty, or processed foods
- Practice good oral hygiene (i.e., brush twice a day, floss daily, rinse daily)
Don’t let your diet affect your smile. By following the tips outlined above, you can avoid putting your oral health at risk!
About the Practice
At Washington Dental Associates, we provide comprehensive, exceptional, state-of-the-art dental services for patients of all ages. Our team is passionate about going the extra mile to help every patient achieve their happiest, healthiest smile. If you’d like to learn more about the effect a vegan diet can have on your smile, visit our website or call (201) 453-4863.