While we’ve all heard that milk is great for building strong bones and teeth, not everyone drinks milk. Although more Americans are becoming proactive about taking care of their overall health, many of us have dietary preferences that exclude dairy products.
Both calcium and vitamin D are essential to your oral health, but are you getting enough calcium? At Greater Houston Orthodontics, we understand that some of us simply cannot consume foods rich in calcium, like milk, due to lactose intolerance and dairy allergies…even when wearing braces. We also understand that others choose vegan or vegetarian lifestyles that eliminate certain food groups, increasing the risk for calcium and vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D and calcium help to keep teeth strong and protected against disease-causing bacteria, especially when wearing braces. Failure to give your body enough of these vitamins could lead to softer teeth over time. It can also increase your risk of periodontal (gum) disease.
Vegan/Vegetarian Oral Hygiene Tips
If you’ve recently chosen the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, you may have noticed changes in your mouth. Plant-based diets alter the pH balance inside your mouth, causing tooth and gum decay over time. To help you maintain a healthy smile while respecting your diet, consider the following:
● Brush twice per day with a vegan toothpaste and floss.
● Rinse regularly with a vegan-friendly mouthwash and floss after every meal to remove leftover bits of food.
● Add more almond milk into your diet for calcium.
● Add foods like ginger, garlic, citrus fruits and apples into your diet to naturally whiten your teeth.
● Leave some time between snacks and meals to give your teeth and jaw a break and allow your body to produce the saliva it needs.
Did You Know a Plant-Based Diet Causes More Acid Erosion
Contrary to belief, those who follow a plant-based lifestyle do not have more cavities than those with a conventional diet. They do, however, tend to have more acid erosion than most. While the above tips are great for maintaining your oral health, keep these things in mind as well:
● Citrus fruits increase your odds of dental erosion by 37 times.
● Consuming apple cider vinegar or sports drinks more than once a week increases erosion by 4 times.
● Wait at least 30 minutes after eating sour fruit to brush your teeth. The acid from the fruit breaks down the enamel on your teeth.
Check In With Us!
Want to know if your dietary preference is having a negative effect on your mouth while wearing braces? Talk to us! We promise to examine the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth! Contact our Memorial or West University office with any questions or to schedule a complimentary initial exam.