What to Expect If You Don’t Eat Meat
More and more people are making the choice to go vegan these days for the sake of their health or for ethical reasons. There are a lot of questions about this lifestyle, including about how it affects oral health. If you’re considering this change or have already gone vegan, here’s what you need to know about how it will affect your mouth and teeth.
What is Veganism?
People who are vegan don’t eat or drink any products that come from animals. This includes meat products as well as anything produced by animals such as honey, eggs or milk. There are a lot of reasons why people go vegan. Some do it because they can’t stand the thought of exploiting animals in any way and use their diet as a way to take a stand against animal cruelty. This is a noble sentiment. However, there is a lot of argument about the health benefits and potential problems of avoiding all animal products. Unfortunately, there is evidence for each side of this argument, and that doesn’t change when it comes to your oral health.
Oral Health Benefits of Veganism
There may be a number of benefits for your oral health when you go vegan. For starters, it may cut down on your risk of gum disease. Animal products tend to be high in saturated fats, which are a major cause of gum disease. And fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fibre and other vitamins which may slow down the progression of gum disease.
Cancer is also something that can be affected by your diet and the evidence for this is on the side of the vegans. Whole foods and plants provide the best defence against oral cancers, particularly raw vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, citrus fruits and leafy greens.
Another benefit of a vegan diet is the fact that it usually doesn’t include a lot of foods that can use oral health problems. This includes soft drinks, sweets, cakes, and cookies as usually they’re made with honey, milk, butter or eggs. These foods contain a lot of sugar, which encourages plaque growth, so avoiding them is good for your teeth.
Oral Health Problems Caused by Veganism
Going vegan could have negative consequences for your oral health as well. This includes the following issues:
A vegan diet usually includes lots of fruit and fruit juices. These contain a lot of acids and sugars which can weaken the enamel on your teeth and cause cavities.
People on a vegan diet often don’t get enough L-arginine. This is an amino acid found in meat that helps to break down bacteria and prevents it from sticking together to form plaque.
These potential problems shouldn’t stop you from being vegan if you believe that it’s best for your health or for the health of the planet. Instead, it highlights the importance of eating a balanced diet, no matter what that diet is based on, and safeguarding your oral health with regular trips to the dentist for a check-up.
How to Go Vegan and Protect Your Teeth
Like with any dietary change, you need to keep your oral health in mind when you go vegan. There are a number of ways you can plan your vegan diet so that your teeth and mouth stay healthy. This includes the following:
Include nuts, avocado, cold pressed olive oil and coconut oil in your diet. These contain fat-soluble vitamins, which may protect you from cavities.
Make sure you eat a lot of the vegetables that protect or improve your oral health such as cucumbers, parsley, onions, strawberries and carrots.
Try not to graze between meals. This is common amongst vegans, and may result in more plaque and cavities.
Paramount Dental Sydney Says