Being vegan for many has health benefits, however, any restricted diet can pose health issues and for some vegans the diet can be very bad news for their teeth.
There’s a lot of debate about the pros and cons of vegan diets in relation to health and adequate nutritional intake, but the effect it has on your oral health and your teeth is seldom discussed. A recent study published in The Public Library of Science (PLOS) ONE reports that a diet without animal products may impact oral health.
Researchers discovered that the amino acid arginine, which is found naturally in meat, helps to break down the layers of bacteria called dental plaque that build up on your teeth and gums.
The study focused on the effects of L-arginine and how it reduces the ability for bacteria to clump and stick together. Scientists discovered that L-arginine successfully stopped biofilms (groups of bacteria) from growing which prevents the growth of dental plaque.
Although the study couldn’t say exactly how and why arginine halted plaque growth, the fact still remains that incorporating meat, chicken and fish into your diet naturally boosts amino acid levels that are required for cavity prevention.
Hope is not lost if you follow a vegan diet as there is toothpaste with boosted levels of arginine, and medical professionals suggest supplementing beans, especially soybeans, bean sprouts and black beans to help increase your amino acid levels (although they still won’t reach the same level as meat and dairy).
The exact reasons for L-arginine’s decay-fighting ability are yet to be determined, but this study’s conclusions are intriguing and remind us of the importance of a balanced diet for our entire bodies—including our teeth.
For strong healthy teeth, you need an adequate source of minerals, the right kind of fats and optimal levels of Vitamin D to be able to transport them to your bones and tooth structure.
As many of these minerals and fats come from animal sources such as eggs, meat and fish it can be quite difficult if you are on a strict vegan diet to obtain the optimal nutrition you require to support your dental health.
To find out more about what to eat to prevent tooth decay and how the right nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy mouth call us to schedule an appointment with our dentist Dr Rachel Hall of Evolve Dental Healing Kenmore 07 3720 1811