Veganism is on the rise in the US and it comes with various health and dental benefits. To those new to the scene, Vegans abstain from eating any animal products in their diet. There tend to be different distinctions of veganism, some abstain from consuming animal products including meat and eggs, but also anything that derives from animals at all. Recent studies have shown that Vegans are more susceptible to cavities amongst other dental conditions.
There are certainly benefits when it comes to participating in a vegan diet. The cleansing benefits are the most prevalent. The benefits of a plant-based diet allow the digestive system to relax and provide more protein than the average diet. Eating nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables can keep a person healthy and regular for many years. Additionally, the benefits extend past your own health and also help the planet. Research has shown that Vegans produce far less pollution, waste, and can make much more efficient use of natural resources.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good things that come with this lifestyle, especially when it comes to your teeth. Recent studies show that Vegans are more likely to obtain cavities than their meat-eating counterparts. There are specific foods that provide benefits to the human mouth that are omitted from the Vegan diet.
Arginine is an amino acid that is found naturally in most meat. This amino acid has been proven to help break down dental plaque. Unfortunately for Vegans, the lack of this acid means that plaque stays on their teeth for an extended period of time, leading to a higher risk of cavities and gum disease.
Researchers are still working to determine why arginine is so powerful, but the results are clear in terms of it’s effects. Arginine has successfully stopped biofilms, microorganisms that lead to cavities and gingivitis, from continuing to grow in a lab setting.
The good news is, that those who wish to follow a Vegan lifestyle can take some steps to help avoid cavities. There are non-meat foods that provide these amino acids. The usual suspects are beans, including black beans, soy beans, and even bean sprouts. Adding these types of beans into your diet can provide the arginine needed to protect your teeth from cavities.
Of course, a diligent brushing schedule can help remove the plaque build up on your teeth and gums to lower the risk of cavities and gum disease. Some brands even sell toothpaste or mouthwash that is boosted with arginine.
As with most diet choices, there are pros and cons to Veganism. Researchers are working hard to determine the effects, benefits, and downfalls of the Vegan diet, not only on the human body but also on our teeth. If you are a Vegan or are considering becoming Vegan, keep your eyes peeled for new research and make sure to ask your dentist what you can do to help avoid cavities.