Being a vegetarian takes a lot of planning and a lot of willpower (or so say I, a meat eater). Some vegetarians plan so well, they show up to a party with their own food. Vegetarians boast increased endurance, decreased risk of heart disease and overall lower weight. While these are all obviously benefits of saying no to meat, there are some facts that concern some dentists.
No matter the reason you became a vegetarian, the oral health results are the same.
You might be missing Vitamin D and Calcium in your diet. Deficiencies in these cause teeth to soften which makes them more vulnerable to tooth decay and periodontal disease 1. Veganism, the strictest form of vegetarianism, can also put followers at risk for Vitamin B and B12 deficiencies. The younger you are when you adopt a vegetarian diet leads to a greater impact on your oral health.
The good news is that your body naturally produces Vitamin D with sun exposure. Make sure to get the right amount of sunlight to help combat this deficiency (and wear sunscreen). A daily supplement with all the necessary vitamins and minerals is also a good idea, especially for younger vegetarians as they continue to grow and develop.
For this reason, it is important to mention to your dentist your vegetarian lifestyle. Your dentist can give you tips to make sure you get all the nutrients necessary for a healthy mouth.
Do you have an experience with vegetarianism or veganism that you would like to share? Feel free to leave your stories in the comment section.
1.”How Vegetarians Can Ensure Good Oral Health.” Delta Dental. Web. 24 Apr. 2012.