There was a time when people ate the food that was put in front of them. Nowadays, however, many people follow special diets whether for reasons of health or conscience. For example, vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more and more common. Dr. Ravi Doctor, the dentist in Southlake, wants you to know how making the choice of one of these diets can affect your teeth and oral health. Read on to learn about the impact a special diet can have on your smile.
A Meatless Diet and Your Smile
From the government’s Food and Drug Administration to your next-door neighbor, everyone seems to be getting on the bandwagon of eating more fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens and fruits that are rich in antioxidants are proven to be very healthful. So how could there possibly be a problem with restricting your diet to only fruits and vegetables? There are three main areas of concern with dental health when you eliminate meat and dairy from your diet: snacking, acid and a lack of remineralizing foods.
Snacking to Satisfy
Most people know that healthy meal of lean protein, whole grain carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables goes a long way toward providing healthy nutrition and satisfaction. Vegetarians and vegans, on the other hand, often don’t have enough protein at a meal to satisfy their hunger. Consequently, they may find themselves snacking throughout the day. Unfortunately, constant snacking is not good for your teeth. Every time you eat, the pH level in your mouth decreases and acidity increases, thereby creating an environment where the bacteria that wear down tooth enamel can thrive. Therefore, needing to snack often can increase the likelihood of tooth decay.
Acidic Foods and Your Teeth
In addition to constantly snacking in order to feel full, vegetarians and vegans—especially raw vegans—tend to eat carbohydrate-rich acid fruit or dry sticky fruits. This, in combination with snacking, creates a highly acidic environment in the mouth. You can counter this by avoiding sticky fruits and choosing those that are firmer and less acidic. In addition, try chewing gum with Xylitol and drink plenty of water to rinse the acid from your mouth. You may also want to consider adding whole grains and nuts to your snacking menu.
Foods to Remineralize Your Teeth
Meat, dairy and seafood serve your teeth by counteracting the acid in your mouth and by helping to remineralize teeth that have been demineralized by acid. Vegetarians and vegans, however, do not have the benefits of these foods in their diets. Therefore, adding nuts, green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables can help to remineralize teeth. You may also want to consider supplementing your diet in order to receive the best balance of vitamins and minerals.
Contact Our Office Today
Whether you are vegetarian or vegan, or you are on another kind of diet, check in with the dentist near me in Southlake to find out how best to ensure your dental health. Call our office and schedule a consultation with Dr. Doctor today.