Vegan diet corroding my teeth? Is Pescitarianism for me?

           

I visited the dentist on 2 weeks ago. Ok, I haven’t been for years, so it was well over due – but oddly, something that came up made me think back to a conversation I had had with a fellow Vegan.

My dentist did a thorough check and clean and was distressed to tell me that, although my gums were perfect, my actually teeth were developing holes and corroding. She quizzed me about do i smoke + drink regular, drink coffee and then mentioned my diet.

As a vegan, I eat alot of fruit + veg, which are wonderfully immune system building ingredients. Unfortunately, because I do not intake meat or other substitutes, like fish, I am constantly knawing on fruit which is HIGH in NATURAL SUGARS. Natural or unnatural, SUGAR destroys TEETH!

Study from Diet & Dentistry:

Acidic foods and beverages: Acids, which can cause dental erosion, are found in numerous foods and drinks. These acids include:

  • Phosphoric acid, which is found in soft drinks
  • Citric and malic acids, which are found in fruits such as lemons and fruit products
  • Lactic acid, which can be found in fermented products, such as yogurt
  • Tartaric acid, which is found in grapes and wines

Some vegetarians, particularly vegans (those who do not consume any food or drink of animal origin), can experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 or complete proteins. This can put them at greater risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Studies show that by eating the right amount of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, vegans can get the nutrients they need. Taking a multi vitamin daily also is a good idea.

Vegetarian diets and diets in which fruit comprises more than two-thirds of the total food intake also make individuals more susceptible to dental erosion. Frequent vomiting and acid reflux, both of which can introduce stomach acid into the mouth, also can cause dental erosion.

If you are considering adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet, first consult with your dentist and/or nutritionist to learn how to make smart food substitutions to ensure you are getting all necessary nutrients.

Minerals and Nutrients Necessary for Oral Health

Nutrition affects teeth during development. Poor nutrition may exacerbate periodontal disease, a leading cause of tooth loss in adults, as well as other oral infectious diseases. Although poor nutrition does not cause gum disease directly, many researchers think the disease progresses faster and more severely in people with poor nutritional habits.

Therefore, getting the proper amount of vitamins, minerals, fats and protein is essential for the growth and regeneration of normal tissues, as well as your body’s ability to fight infections. Carbohydrates, fat and protein supply the energy your body needs for tissue maintenance and repair. Along with vitamin C, vitamins A, E, B, K and D are essential for healing and a quicker recovery time. For example, vitamin A significantly contributes to healing by reducing the inflammatory period of tissue repair.

Important minerals and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy include the following:

Calcium: Your teeth and jaws are made mostly of calcium. Without enough calcium in your diet, you may develop gum disease and tooth decay. Calcium is found in many foods and liquids, such as milk and dairy products, beans, broccoli, nuts and oysters.

Iron: Iron deficiency can cause tongue inflammation and mouth sores. Iron is found in foods such as red meat, bran cereals and some nuts and spices.

Vitamin B3 (niacin): A lack of vitamin B3 can cause bad breath and canker sores. To boost your B3 levels, eat chicken and fish.

Vitamins B12 and B2 (riboflavin): Mouth sores can develop when you do not get enough Vitamins B12 and B2. Red meat, chicken, liver, pork and fish, as well as dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, are good sources of vitamin B12. Vitamin B2 is found in foods like pasta, bagels, spinach and almonds.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C deficiency may lead to bleeding gums and loose teeth. Sweet potatoes, raw red peppers and oranges are great sources of vitamin C.

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Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth. A diet lacking or low in vitamin D can lead to burning mouth syndrome. Symptoms of this condition include a burning mouth sensation, a metallic or bitter taste in your mouth and mouth dryness. To increase your vitamin D intake, drink milk, and eat egg yolks and fish. Limited amounts of sunshine help the body to produce Vitamin D.

Nutritional Tips for Good Oral Health

  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet centered on moderation and variety. Select foods from each of the five major food groups (breads, cereals and other grain products; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry, fish and beans; and milk and dairy products).
  • Keep a food diary for a week. Record every item you eat and drink, especially ones that contain sugar. Compare your dietary entries to the food pyramid recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by visiting mypyramid.gov.
  • Avoid “fad diets” that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
  • Drink plenty of water. This keeps your mouth moist and helps to wash away loose food particles.
  • Limit the number of snacks between meals. Remember that each time you eat foods that contain sugar, your teeth are bombarded with acids for 20 minutes or more.
  • Keep your consumption of foods containing free sugars to a maximum of four times a day.
  • If you must snack, opt for healthy foods that are low in sugar and do not stick to your teeth. Cheese, raw vegetables, nuts, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit are good choices.
  • When you eat fermentable carbohydrates like crackers, cookies and chips, eat them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. Combinations of foods neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay.
  • Drinking soda at meal times is less harmful to your teeth than drinking it alone; continuously sipping soda over time is more harmful than drinking the entire can of soda at once. To help reduce the amount of soda that comes into direct contact with your teeth, try drinking with a straw.

Some vegetarians, particularly vegans (those who do not consume any food or drink of animal origin), can experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 or complete proteins. This can put them at greater risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Studies show that by eating the right amount of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, vegans can get the nutrients they need. Taking a multi vitamin daily also is a good idea.

[Updated June 2009]

I was adviced to mix it up a little, invite other ingredients back into my diet. I sat and thought about this long and hard, as I now need 3 NEW FILLINGS and possibly ROOT CANAL Treatment!!!! Ouch!

As a rule of thumb – I can’t go back to eating meat again – Ethically, I just couldn’t, 2ndly, it contains wheat (especially Chicken + Beef)

I shouldn’t be eating fruit anyway, as my CANDIDA ALBICAN feeds on it, but then my meals would literally be Vegetables + grains only!! Bland!

I may consider mixing it up & fluctuating between PESCITARIANSM + Veganism (introduce fish to my meals twice per week, which will also give me Omega 3, 6, +9 so i’m not too tired without the natural fruit sugar)

Gosh, health & wellbeing is so complicated! I just want to be NORMAL. LOL. Normal…

After I have all my dental work done, I will start my pescitarian diet and monitor it over 3 months, visit my dentist and see if there is a natural improvement in my teeth.

Clare Eluka, Oct 2011

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