With obesity in America on the rise, many people are trying new diets, and many are becoming vegetarians. As with all dieters, vegetarians run the risk of taking in insufficient nutrients essential for healthy teeth.
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) warns vegetarians that they may increase their risk of periodontal disease from lack of Vitamin D and calcium. Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for maintaining strong teeth. Vegetarians can increase their Vitamin D supply by sitting with sun exposure. Read Vitamin D Deficiency and Periodontal Disease for more information.
Vegetarians, especially vegans, who do not consume any food of animal origin, are at a greater risk of depleting their bodies of not only calcium and Vitamin D, but also of Vitamins B2 and B12. Mouth sores can develop when you do not get enough Vitamin B2 and B12.
Studies have shown that many of the body’s essential nutrients can come from a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Vegetarians should add vegetable margarines, soy milk, nutritional yeast, and extra servings of green leafy vegetables to their diets to decrease the risk of vitamin deficiency. It is also recommended they should take a supplemental daily vitamin.
The AGD suggests that you consult with a physician and nutritionist prior to adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. I can also provide you with smart food substitutions to ensure you the necessary nutrients. I’m Dr. James Stewart, a Livonia dentist, and I believe that a healthy diet and good oral health care habits are the best defense against problems with gums and teeth. If you are starting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, call my Livonia dentist office at (743)425-4400 to schedule a consultation. I want to help you maintain a healthy, well-rounded diet and most importantly, a healthy smile.