Whether you follow a vegan diet for ethical reasons or for health reasons, it's important to realize that every diet, including a vegan diet, does have its limitations. One problem that many vegans struggle with is maintaining good oral health. You can enjoy healthy teeth and gums on a vegan diet, but it's something that you'll need to make a priority. Along with regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups, here are three ways to maintain good oral health on a vegan diet.
Limit your fruit intake.
Fruit becomes a go-to snack for many vegans. Some vegans even go so far as to follow a fruit-based diet. But while fruit is high in a lot of vitamins and minerals, it is also very high in sugar. Snacking on it day in and day out greatly increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Drinking a lot of juice and smoothies is even worse since the liquid form of these foods puts the sugar into closer contact with your teeth.
It's certainly fine to consume fruit, but try to do so in moderation. Include more vegetables, starches, and nuts in your diet -- and make fruit a treat rather than the basis of your meals.
Eat calcium-rich foods.
As a vegan, you are not getting the calcium in your diet than omnivores get from dairy. Without calcium, your tooth enamel will become weaker and more prone to cavities. Thankfully, there are plenty of other foods that are high in calcium, making it perfectly possible to satisfy your calcium needs on a vegan diet. However, some of these foods are ones you'll need to make a conscious effort to eat more often. Good vegan sources of calcium include:
Blackstrap molasses (17% of daily value per serving)
Kale (19% of daily value per serving)
Black-eyed peas (18% of daily value per serving)
Dried figs (10% daily value per serving)
Turnip greens (20% daily value per serving)
Make sure you're getting enough magnesium.
Magnesium is an often overlooked nutrient when it comes to oral health. Without magnesium, your tooth enamel is less efficient at taking up calcium, leaving you more prone to cavities. Magnesium deficiencies also impede your body's ability to fight off bacteria, like those that cause gum disease. Many people get their magnesium from fish and dairy, but there are plenty of good vegan sources, including:
Dried figs (13% daily value per serving)
Avocados (15% daily value per serving)
Brown rice (21% daily value per serving)
Soybeans (37% daily value per serving)
Pumpkin seeds (81% of daily value per serving)
To learn more about good dental health on a vegan diet, speak with your dentist.
Click here to learn more about family dentistry!