A vegetarian lifestyle can have many health benefits, including a reduction in cholesterol, fat, and possibly even calories. Unfortunately, the removal of meat from a diet also reduces the intake and absorption of several important vitamins and minerals, a few of which can impact the health of your teeth. The Academy for General Dentistry has found that eating a vegetarian diet for a prolonged period of time can increase the risk for gum disease due to a potential deficiency in Vitamin D and Calcium.
The good news is that there are plenty of good habits and food choices that can help offset any deficiencies from a vegetarian lifestyle. A few of these include:
- Avoid frequent snacking on high-carbohydrate foods, including dried fruit and sweets. A good rule for anyone since these high-sugar foods can be hard to clean from your teeth.
- Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and grains to ensure you’re receiving the proper nutrition.
- Include green leafy vegetables in your diet every day. Meat and seafood include nutrients which help to remineralize teeth and neutralize the acidic environment in our mouths. Fortunately, most green leafy vegetables also have these demineralizing attributes.
Most importantly, do not skip your regular dental checkups! Your dentist is an important player on your healthcare team and may help identify any nutritional deficiencies before they become issues.