With an increase in the number of people turning vegetarian and vegan due to health reasons as well as to take a stand against animal cruelty, it does pose certain challenges and vegans have to find alternative ways to do some of the everyday things in our lives. A vegan diet can result in weaker bones and teeth, and you should try to make them stronger and healthier. As such, taking care of your teeth should be slightly different when you’re a vegan, and here’s how and why.
Why you should pay attention
It seems as if vegetarians and vegans are at higher risk of tooth decay, according to a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This is because their saliva is more acidic due to their diet, and what is more, they produce less saliva than people whose diet includes meat and dairy products. Vegetarians’ and vegans’ teeth are greatly demineralised compared to those of omnivores, which is why they should pay special attention to their dental health.
You need more vitamin D
It might be concerning to hear that your teeth are at risk, but do you know what they lack the most? The answer is rather simple: your teeth need more calcium as well as vitamin D to remain healthy. Why vitamin D? Well, because it binds calcium and makes it easier for your body to absorb it. Getting enough vitamin D might be a problem, but that doesn’t only depend on the diet. People who live in sunnier countries such as Singapore, Spain and Australia will get their vitamin D from spending time in the sun, so there might be a lesser need to visit a dentist in Brisbane than in Moscow. However, being a vegan might prompt that need given the lack of fish and dairy in the diet, so do pay your dentist a visit and let them know that you’re a vegan or vegetarian. They might suggest taking certain supplements, but make sure you read the labels carefully because some ingredients can be animal-based.
Taking more calcium
Just like with vitamin D, calcium is necessary for the health of your teeth and bones. Fortunately, a lot of vegan foods are rich in calcium. When buying soy and nut milk, look for the ones that are calcium-fortified, and feel free to dig into broccoli, kale, Chinese cabbage, tofu and okra too, because these are vegan-friendly and rich in calcium as well. Seeing as how omnivores get their calcium from dairy and fish, it would be wise to find alternative ways to get yours.
Be mindful of your sugar intake
In addition to some vitamin deficiencies, both vegans and vegetarians are at higher risk of gum disease, plaque, tooth decay, and cavities. This happens not only because you lack vitamins in your diet, but because you eat much more fruits and vegetables. Even though fruit is healthy and a great source of nutrients, it is also high in natural sugar which can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay in the long run. What is more, vegans tend to snack between meals (vegetables tend to lend a lot of bulk to fill you up but in fewer in calories, which is why some vegans get hungry in between meals) which can lead to plaque. This is the reason why you should brush your teeth more often and floss regularly to keep your teeth healthy.
Even though going vegan is amiable, you should also be careful and pay attention to your body and your health. It might take some time to get used to all these changes that are going to happen in your life, which is why it’s a good idea to become a vegan over a certain amount of time instead of a sudden switch. Still, if you’re positive that this decision is your path for the future, we hope that you will find some of the tips we provided here useful.