Keeping Teeth Healthy on a Vegan Diet

Woman enjoying vegan meal with friendsMany people choose to follow a vegan diet in order to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their overall health. By reducing your intake of red meat and processed foods, the vegan diet can drastically improve your health. It is also a popular choice for individuals who suffer from food sensitivities such as lactose intolerance. The vegan diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis in certain individuals, and it reduces your personal investment in the amount of pollution and carbon production associated with beef, poultry and dairy products. Despite all these health and environmental benefits, the vegan diet can pose a risk to both oral and bone health if careful consideration is not taken for dietary nutrients. In this article, we will discuss how to make sure you are taking care of your oral health while consuming a vegan diet. 

Why is a vegan diet potentially bad for teeth?

A vegan diet can negatively impact tooth health due to nutritional deficiencies that may increase your risk for gum disease and tooth decay. The vegan diet also heavily relies on starch and sugar-based substitutes for meat and/or dairy products. This increased consumption of sugar can subsequently increase your risk for cavities. Vegans need to keep in mind sources of calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and vitamin B12; nutrients essential for oral health and traditionally sourced from meat and dairy in the diet.  


What oral health issues can a vegan diet cause?

Due to an increased risk for nutrient deficiency, the vegan diet can result in tooth decay or gum disease. Vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, are essential for bone and tooth health but can be difficult to consume while following a vegan diet. As well, increased sugar consumption elevates the risk of developing cavities. Due to sugary substitutes to meat and dairy products, it is important that vegans pay attention to the amount of sugar they consume and follow a comprehensive oral health care routine. The best way to prevent cavities is to follow the dentist's recommended schedule of brushing for two minutes twice daily in addition to flossing and visiting your dental care provider regularly.  

What vegan foods are good for teeth?

Plant-based foods that contain nutrients important for vegans include broccoli, leafy greens and soybeans for calcium, vitamin D from fortified alternative milks or juices, lentils and pumpkin seeds for phosphorus and breakfast cereals for vitamin B12. We recommend speaking with your health and dental care providers about potential vitamin supplements that can also help complement your diet. 

In general, if you actively seek nutrient-rich alternatives to traditional meat and dairy products in your diet, you can still maintain optimal oral health. If you are looking for a dentist in Woodbridge, Vaughan, or the Greater Toronto Area, Dr. Lloyd Pedvis and his team at Mackenzie Dental Centre provide exceptional family and cosmetic dentistry. Serving the Vaughan, Maple and Woodbridge area, Dr. Pedvis and his team provide regular check-ups, emergency services and consultations for Invisalign® and whitening. For more information, contact his team at 905-417-8700.





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