Veganism has become very popular, with many people adopting a plant-based style of eating out of concern for animal welfare, climate change or their own health. While vegan diets can be very good for overall health, it is important to ensure that yours is properly planned to protect your teeth and gums.
1. Include Calcium Sources
Although cutting out dairy can have positive effects on oral health, such as reducing inflammation, it can also reduce the amount of calcium in your diet. Getting enough calcium is essential for helping your body maintain strong, healthy teeth.
Most plant-based dairy replacement products, such as soy and almond milk or dairy-free yoghurt, are fortified with calcium. Using these products instead of their dairy equivalents is an easy way to get enough calcium. You can also eat natural plant-based sources of calcium, such as chickpeas, sesame seeds and leafy greens.
2. Supplement Vitamin D
Vitamin D occurs naturally in very few plant foods. Many vegan foods are fortified with vitamin D2, but this form of the vitamin is not as available to the body as vitamin D3, which is found in fish and eggs. Taking a vegan D3 supplement (where the D3 comes from algae) is a good way to ensure you get enough vitamin D3 without breaking your vegan diet.
3. Savour Salads
Chewing on fibrous, crunchy vegetables, such as raw carrots and radishes, is a great way to scrub plaque from your teeth. Include a salad in your daily meal plan to clean your teeth and access the vital calcium found in raw leafy greens.
4. Solid Foods Beat Smoothies
Many new vegans think that smoothies are a great way to pack in all your fruit and veg for the day. However, from the perspective of your teeth, it's much healthier to chew your five-a-day than to blend them up and drink them. Chewing stimulates your gums and jaw, promoting blood flow and healthy bone growth. In addition, blending fruit breaks down cell walls to release natural sugars, which can feed bacteria that cause tooth decay.
5. Use a Cruelty-Free Toothpaste
Veganism is about more than what you eat; it's a way of living that seeks to avoid animal exploitation as much as possible. Unfortunately, this noble aim leads some vegans to stop using toothpaste because they want to avoid products that have been tested on animals. Dentists agree that toothpaste is very important to protect the health of your teeth, so rather than giving it up, look for a brand that does not use animal testing.
Speak to your dentist to get more tips.