Being a vegan is the lifestyle of choosing not to eat animal products. Vegetarians are much like vegans; however, vegans avoid all animal products, including honey, dairy products, as well as eggs and other products obtained through animals. Vegans also may choose to avoid animal products such as leather or products tested on animals.
Choosing to be a vegan can result from a concern for animal welfare, some prefer this diet to reduce their impact on the earth, and some choose it for health-related concerns. Animal and dairy products play a significant role in a person’s health. Does choosing to follow a vegan diet affect your teeth?
Effects of a Vegan Diet on Your Teeth
You can live a healthy life without having meat as part of your diet, but if you are a vegan, there are certain dental risks to face:
- Starch Heavy– A vegan diet is starch heavy as it relies mainly on sugar and grain products as substitutes for meat and dairy. This large consumption of grains and sugars puts you at risk for developing more cavities than a person who does not have as many of these products in their diet.
- Fewer Nutrients– There are many nutrients found in foods from animals. As a vegan giving up these nutrients, your risks increase for tooth and gum decay.
Replacement Minerals and Vitamins For Healthier Vegan Teeth
Being a vegan means you have chosen to take animal products out of your diet, and with these gone, you are missing out on essential minerals and vitamins that keep your teeth and gums healthy. There are supplements or alternatives you can take to ensure your oral health is maintained:
- Vitamin D- In order for your body to properly absorb calcium, it needs Vitamin D. If you choose almond or soy milk to replace other forms of milk and dairy products, check the label to ensure it has been enriched with Vitamin D. Another great source of this important vitamin is being outside in the sunshine.
- Vitamin B12– Vitamin B12 is used by your body to build DNA, red blood cells and more. If your body is short on this vitamin, you may feel short of breath or numb. A deficiency of this can also cause paranoia, memory loss, and depression. Animal products make up most of this natural source of Vitamin B12, but there is an alternative for you as a vegan. Seaweed is a great plant-based source of B12. You can also find this vital vitamin in supplements, tofu, and some breakfast cereals.
- Calcium– Your teeth need calcium to keep them strong and protected from cavities. Dairy products provide a significant source of calcium, but as a vegan, there are alternatives. To ensure you are getting enough calcium in your diet to protect the health of your teeth, you should include leafy greens, soybeans, and broccoli in your diet.
- Phosphorus– Phosphorus works like Vitamin D in your body as it supports calcium to build healthy teeth and bones. This vital mineral is found in many animal products; however, as a vegan, you can find a source of this mineral in plant-based alternatives such as pumpkin seeds, lentils, and soybeans.
When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, it is about more than just flossing and brushing. You also have to provide them the proper nutrients to stay strong and healthy. Nutrient-rich alternatives to dairy and meat products will ensure you maintain your oral health. If you are worried about the state of your teeth and live in Mission Viejo, contact us at Oso Marguerite Dental for a teeth checkup.