Most vegans understand the health benefits of their dietary lifestyle. But, they’re also interested in boosting their overall well-being. As a result, many already take dietary supplements to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need.
But, it’s not just food that contributes to a vegan lifestyle. It’s everything from the clothing you wear to the products you use – including oral health products.
Finding a dentist who is understanding and considerate of your needs is crucial. You need to be able to trust that they will provide you with vegan medications, when necessary, and even talk to you about toothpaste and mouthwash options.
So, what can you do to protect your teeth when leading a vegan lifestyle? How should you approach your oral care?
Understand the Possible Problems
For the most part, a vegan diet is incredibly healthy. Some of the benefits include:
- It’s rich in certain nutrients
- It can help you lose weight
- Improves kidney function
- Can help to protect against certain cancers
- Reduces your risk of heart disease
Unfortunately, there are some nutrients that those with a vegan diet sometimes lack. B12 is one of the most crucial vitamins for oral health. Insufficient B12 can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Fruits and vegetables don’t typically contain this nutrient. You can find it in things like fortified cereals and plant milks. But, that still may not be enough to keep your body (and teeth) healthy.
Calcium intake can be another struggle for vegans and is a crucial component of oral health. Calcium keeps your teeth strong, and Vitamin D makes it easier for your body to absorb it.
When you’re limiting things from your diet, it’s not uncommon to limit your nutrients, too. Be aware of what you might be missing and how it could affect your dental health. While talking to a dentist is important, you can start to help yourself by taking a supplement or multivitamin to support your diet.
How to Improve and Maintain Good Oral Health
Aside from taking supplements, there are plenty of things you can do on a vegan diet to support your oral health. A lot of it has to do with your eating/snacking habits.
For example, if you tend to eat a lot of fruit, you could be doing more damage than you realize. But, you don’t have to stop snacking on those strawberries. Fruit contains a lot of natural sugar, and while that’s healthier than refined sugar, it can still increase your risk of cavities. Citrus fruits can be especially harmful as they not only contain sugar but a lot of acids that can wear away your enamel.
Snacking, in general, can be harmful to your oral health. Unfortunately, grazing is something most vegans are notorious for. Even if you think you’re snacking on something healthy, almost everything has sugars in it. It only takes 20 seconds for acid to form on your teeth after eating something. That can lead to a plaque buildup and eventual decay.
Not all snacks are created equal, of course. Some of the worst options for your teeth include:
- Potato chips
- Dried fruit
If you’re a frequent snacker, try options like cheese, unsweetened cereal, or veggies and dip. Additionally, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth more frequently.
Consider carrying a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste around with you. Finding a bathroom is easy enough, no matter where you are, and doing a quick brush/polish can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy. It might take some getting used to, but brushing your teeth after every snack or meal will eventually become a healthy habit.
Talk to a Dentist
Most dentists are understanding of people’s lifestyles and dietary choices. Finding a dentist who is willing to work with you to make healthy choices based on your diet will offer you peace of mind for your oral health. Nowadays, more dentists are utilizing technology to provide superior patient care.
For example, some are using microbots to “kill” biofilm on the teeth – that slimy substance that can lead to a build-up of plaque and oral health diseases. This prevents you from having to take an antibiotic that might not contain vegan ingredients.
Many dental offices are also improving their overall data collection. After just a single visit, your dentist should have important information about you and your preferences on file. So, you can feel confident that whatever medications or treatments you might require are 100% vegan. You can also openly talk with them about changes you should make in your diet that could benefit you.
You already know the importance of taking care of your body. But, don’t ignore your teeth in the process! Keep these considerations in mind for good oral health care, and your smile will be brighter and healthier than ever.
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.
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