The short answer is yes, but don’t panic. If you have been a vegetarian for some time or if you are considering a transition to a vegetarian lifestyle, it’s all about balance. Yes, it can negatively affect your oral health, but you can counteract the process by balancing out your overall diet.
There are always consequences to making changes and diets are no different. For every food group you eliminate, you need to supplement it with something else.
We will attempt to explain why a vegetarian diet can affect your oral health and how to substitute other food groups to remain a vegetarian while maintaining strong healthy teeth.
Why Be A Vegetarian
Many vegetarians will tell you they initiated that lifestyle to eliminate fats and cholesterol from their diet. Eating meats can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. They may say they refuse to eat anything animal based.
Whatever the reason, there are pros and cons when you make this change. Meat products provide certain vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy body and healthy teeth and bones, namely Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and calcium. Here comes the balance part.
Without those necessary vitamins and minerals, overtime your teeth will soften and there is an increased risk for decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Vitamin D found in meat is important because it helps break down bacteria in the mouth and strengthens the enamel. Calcium gives us strong bones including our teeth. Both are important for oral health. It almost makes you wonder, how does a vegetarian keep that healthy smile?
Balance It Out
A vegetarian need only add those missing vitamins and minerals from other food groups. You are already eating lots of fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes. Now, concentrate on where you can supplement the calcium, Vitamin D, and K.
Add in kale, broccoli, leafy greens like spinach, tomatoes and carrots to balance out the missing minerals and vitamins.
Add in dairy products and substitute eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese for the missing calcium.
You need Vitamin D to process calcium properly. So include mushrooms, certain fortified cereals, and sunlight to your daily life. We get natural Vitamin D from the sun so try to get 15-30 minutes of sun each day.
Benefits Of A Vegetarian Diet
A balanced vegetarian diet reduces the risk of oral cancer and other heart problems, and plant based foods are actually better for your teeth.
You can be a vegetarian and still have healthy beautiful teeth.
Maintain your oral health regimen and visit your dental professional.
Oakville Dental Place is here for your whole family.