Veganism has a number of proven health benefits, but can it work wonders for your oral health? That depends on how healthy your diet — vegan or otherwise — is! Veganism certainly encourages you to make more healthful, plant-based choices for your diet, and that can mean wonderful things for your oral health, but not every food is great for your teeth.
How Veganism Improves Gum Health
Because your gums play an integral role in keeping your teeth in place and healthy, their condition is just as important as the health of your teeth themselves. Vegan diets high in fiber can halt the progression of periodontal diseases including gingivitis, and vegans may have lower instances of inflammation in their gums — thanks in part to consuming fewer saturated fats.
Your choice in foods also influences the amount and type of bacteria present in your mouth, another reason why vegans may have significantly fewer problems with inflammation and periodontal issues. Higher levels of the “wrong” kinds of bacteria in your mouth can harm your gums and in turn lead to a whole host of dental issues.
How Veganism Improves Tooth Health
Consuming a diet rich in leafy green vegetables means your body is receiving plenty of vitamins and nutrients needed to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Leafy greens like kale, cabbage and asparagus give you an abundance of vitamins A and C, as well as micronutrients like calcium and phosphorous. Calcium keeps your jawbone strong, which helps keep your teeth in place. Phosphorous helps you maximize the absorption of these vitamins and minerals, meaning your body has a great supply of them to keep your teeth strong and in place.
This is possibly just one of the reasons why it’s been found that those sticking to a vegetarian — but not strictly vegan — diet, also had fewer missing teeth than their omnivorous counterparts. Additionally, chewing rougher foods like nuts, seeds and root vegetables can act as a sort of natural toothbrush. The tough and sharp particles of these foods can give your teeth a mild cleaning as you chew, reducing your chances of cavities when combined with regular dental checkups and good home care.
Can Veganism Harm Your Teeth?
Veganism isn’t all rainbows and sunshine for your teeth, though, and the reason is sugar. Starchy, sticky foods like rice and wheat, as well as sweet, sugary foods like fruit can all contribute to acid erosion and decay. In fact, vegans were found to have a higher instance of enamel erosion on their teeth due to acid than omnivores did.
Fortunately, acid damage can be minimized and mitigated by taking the proper steps to care for your teeth after you eat a potentially problematic food. Sipping water as you eat can help wash away bits of starchy foods that might otherwise stick around between your teeth or in the nooks and crannies of your mouth. It can also help neutralize the acid damage caused by the sugars in fruits.
Pay careful attention to your brushing and flossing habits to cut down on the damage potentially caused by eating a strictly plant-based diet.
How We Can Help
We’re glad to see that you’re invested in your health, and we want to help you create a lasting change. Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or are considering making that lifestyle change, it’s good to make an appointment to tend to your teeth — after all, it’s hard to crunch a carrot or an apple if your teeth are causing you pain. By getting in for an appointment and cleaning, you can ensure you’ll be able to snack on your favorite healthy, plant-based foods at will, guilt-free.
At Maple Leaf Dental, we’ve made it easy to book your appointment. Simply give us a call at (281) 497-5558 or click here to email us while you’re on the go. Our staff are dedicated to getting you in and seen as quickly as possible.