Oral Health Tips for Vegetarians
Due to concerns about fat, cholesterol and animal welfare, many people adopt a vegetarian diet. Vegetarians, though, are at an increased risk of nutritional deficiencies, and these deficiencies can pose problems for the oral health of the individual.
A vegetarian needs to pay very close attention to the foods they consume, to make sure that they are eating a well balanced and nutritional diet. Adults who choose a vegetarian lifestyle are normally very knowledgeable about nutrition and their needs, but children and adolescents often decide to become a vegetarian without understanding the dietary concerns that can result.
Vegetarians are at an increased risk of deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and proteins. Those who avoid all foods that come from animals, such as milk and other dairy products, are especially susceptible to these deficiencies. Your health is dependent on getting the nutrients you need, and these deficiencies can be observed in your overall health as well as your oral health. Deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, for instance, can cause tooth enamel to become soft, leading to increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
It is possible to get all of the needed nutrients from fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, but a vegetarian has to know which of these to eat and eat them in the correct amounts. Because of the complexity involved in consuming a proper vegetarian diet, if you are considering one you should seek counseling from a nutritionist. In addition, vegetarians should take a daily multi-vitamin to help offset any potential deficiencies. Finally, if you are a vegetarian or on any other special diet, be sure to let your dentist know so they can monitor you for any potential oral problems.
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