Vegetarianism and veganism are popular in Beverly Hills (after all Los Angeles is the third most vegetarian-friendly city in the US), but could this lifestyle choice be impacting your teeth?

The answer is yes, but it doesn’t have to have a negative impact. It’s possible to eat a vegetarian diet and still have healthy teeth and gums.

Nutritional Concerns

The Academy of General Dentists has expressed concern that vegetarians and vegans may be short of crucial nutrients that help maintain teeth and gums.

Many of the nutrients crucial for oral health can be harder for vegetarians to obtain. The most common ones are vitamin B2, vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D. The risk of deficiencies increases in vegans, who don’t eat any animal products. However, it is possible to get all the nutrients, you just have to pay attention to your diet.

Vegetarianism Improves Periodontal Health

Research on the impact of vegetarianism on oral health has good news and bad. Vegetarianism seems to improve periodontal health, but can worsen dental health.

In a study of 100 vegetarians and 100 non-vegetarians, German researchers found that vegetarians had much better indicators of periodontal health, including fewer missing teeth, less mobile teeth, less bleeding on probing, and fewer missing teeth.

But vegetarians had more tooth decay and more eroded teeth. This was less connected to the vegetarian diet, and more related to the fact that vegetarians went to the dentist less often and were less likely to use fluoride toothpaste, which can contain animal products.

Maintaining Oral Health as a Vegetarian or Vegan

dreamstime_s_24814455The good news is that vegetarians can have healthy gums and teeth. Everyone should always make their regular dental visits to get cleanings and check-ups.

If you’re concerned about what’s in your toothpaste, there are vegetarian and vegan fluoride toothpastes available. These are crucial to protecting your teeth from decay. Although they can be hard to find, it is worth it to research them.

There are many ways to get the calcium you need. Kale, collards, and similar hearty greens contain a high level of calcium naturally, and there are many calcium-fortified options, such as non-dairy milk and orange juice.

Pay attention to snacking habits. Many vegetarians snack often because they tend to be hungry more regularly. If you’re snacking a lot, make sure you always rinse your mouth with water after a snack, or consider sugar-free gum.

Pay attention to the acidity of the fruits and vegetables you are eating. A diet that’s too acidic will cause your teeth to erode more quickly.

Following these tips will help you maintain your teeth and gums as a vegetarian. If you are looking for a Beverly Hills dentist who can also help, please call 310-275-5325 for an appointment at Ravon Knopf.