While reviewing the website www.knowyourteeth.com sponsored by the Academy of General Dentistry I came across an article highlighting oral health concerns dentists carry for their vegetarian patients. Many dentists ask their patients about their diet, and find those that are vegetarian tend to be very knowledgeable about nutrition. The concerns however, tend to be directed towards children on vegetarian diets that may be lacking essential nutrients, and with adults that also may be lacking essentials needed for proper tooth and gum health.
According to Dr. Ludwig Leibsohn, some vegetarians, particularly those who do not consume any food of animal origin, can experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 or complete proteins. Studies show that by eating the right amount of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, they can get the nutrients they need. “An adult on a vegetarian diet for a prolonged period can be at increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease from a lack of vitamin D and calcium,” says Dr. Leibsohn. To reduce this problem, Dr. Leibsohn suggests that vegetarians seek counsel from a nutritionists and take a multi-vitamin daily.
Another concern for vegetarians is their potential lack of Vitamin D. Teeth can become more susceptible to decay and periodontal disease with a lack of Vitamin D. Although Vitamin D is produced with sun exposure, if one is out of the sun often and not consuming any in their diet there is a possibility of a deficiency. According to Dr. Leibsohn, adding vegetable margarines or soy milk to one’s diet will solve this problem.
In conclusion, it’s important to have an open line of communication as a patient with your dentist and any other doctor’s you see. If we have all the information, it allows us to better asses your health conditions as a whole and suggest any additional care needed.
Read the article for yourself here:
Dentists Should Advise Vegetarians on Good Oral Health