Our Wickford dentist looks at the implications of a plant based diet.
It does not seem so long ago that a vegan diet was considered by some, to be for “fringe” groups only. This is no longer the case though, and large numbers of people are turning to a vegan diet for many reasons. Amongst these are ecological and ethical arguments, but also, for many people, it is a health issue. Vegans are considered less likely to be overweight (although too many vegan cakes could alter that!), and blood pressure and diabetes are thought to be less likely in vegans too.
From a professional dental perspective, we don’t wish to get involved in general debates about a vegan diet, but we thought it would be worth taking a look how one might impact upon a person’s oral health.
First of all, it should be said that many vegans still consume large quantities of sugars. There is, apparently, a large market now for vegan cakes, and whilst this may make the diet more appealing for many, all sugars, whether refined or natural, increase the risk of tooth decay.
It is likely too, that the more health conscious vegan will consume quite a lot of fruit, and, whilst fruit is undoubtedly healthy in many ways, there are implications for our teeth. First of all, although natural, fruits contain sugars and these will attack the teeth in the same way as those consumed through sweets etc. Citrus fruits are also acidic and will attack the enamel of the teeth, potentially eroding the enamel if good care is not taken.
Aside from vitamin B12, vegans can get a full range of nutrition from their diet. This is not always easy and straightforward though, and, unless care is taken, vegans may lack certain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, which most people get from dairy products. Calcium helps to build both healthy bones and teeth, and a lack of calcium, along with insufficient vitamin D, can lead to an increased likelihood of tooth loss.
Some, although not all, vegans subscribe to a ‘natural’ lifestyle, often buying natural products where possible; including fluoride-free toothpaste. This is unfortunate as fluoride is helpful in protecting against tooth decay, and vegans may be prone to more dental problems should they use a fluoride free toothpaste.
Aside from taking care to eat a healthy and balanced vegan diet, the chances of having healthy teeth and gums are greatly increased through regular professional checks at your handy Wickford dental surgery. By visiting a dentist every six months or so, we are able to monitor the health of your teeth and gums; treating them where necessary, and guiding you towards better home oral health care.
Appointments can be made either privately, or on the NHS, by calling the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078.