People choose to eat a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons, but did you know that you could be missing some nutrients that are vital to your oral health? Although this diet has many health benefits, some of the nutrients needed for your teeth are most commonly found in meat and dairy products. But vegetarians and vegans can find these same nutrients in other foods, so we’ve comprised some tips to help you make sure you are getting the nutrients you need without compromising your dietary choices.
Calcium is important for keeping teeth and bones strong. Although dairy products are most commonly credited with providing calcium there are many alternatives to get your daily intake. Such as:
- Dark leafy greens
- Fortified tofu
In order for calcium to fully absorb into the body and provide the desired benefit to your bones and teeth, your body also needs phosphorus. Some vegetarian/vegan foods that contain phosphorus are:
- Whole grains
Vitamin D is produced in the body with sun exposure, but it is also found in milk and fish, so those who don’t eat these products are more likely to have a deficiency. Lack of vitamin D puts you at higher risk for periodontal disease and decay. To enhance vitamin D in the body try:
- Regular sun exposure
- Soy milk
- Vegetable margarine
Riboflavin is a B vitamin that helps protect from mouth sores and oral inflammation. It’s found in red meat, poultry and fish. But these aren’t the only sources; vegetarians can get their necessary riboflavin from:
A balanced diet is important to any healthy lifestyle. Like all of us, vegetarians need to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need for their oral and overall health. If eating a balanced diet is a challenge, you may also want to consider some vitamin supplements. If you would like more advice on how to maintain a healthy smile, come see us and we would be happy to provide some personalized guidance for your oral health.