Does A Vegetarian Lifestyle Pose Any Risk To Dental Health?

A vegetarian is someone who maintains a meat-free diet, often for religious, personal, health, or medical reasons. People often choose a vegetarian lifestyle because they believe it to be a healthier option. Most vegetarians who maintain a balanced diet enjoy good oral health but this needs to be carefully monitored because a non-meat diet means that some nutrients that are vital to dental health are missing. The following are areas of concern for those who are vegetarians as well as healthy supplements that such people can take.

Areas of Concern for Vegetarians

Most vegetarians embrace their lifestyle knowing what vitamins and nutrients are needed, which they get from vegetables, grains, fruit, nuts, legumes, and the like every day. However, research has shown that vegetarians are at increased risk of becoming deficient in vitamin D and calcium over a prolonged period.

Over time, people become less conscientious about including all the required nutrients in their diets. Where vitamin D and calcium are deficient, the teeth can get weaker and become more prone to periodontal disease and tooth decay. However, normal exposure to the sun causes the body to produce vitamin D naturally, so deficiency is not so common. Calcium deficiency is more likely but can be addressed with supplements and the correct diet. Good sources of calcium are:

  1. Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy foods
  2. Fortified foods such as orange juice, cereals, and soy milk
  3. Tofu and other bean products
  4. Leafy green vegetables such as kale and okra

What Supplements Are Available to Vegetarians?

In today's marketplace, there are a vast amount of supplements to ensure the correct intake of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. Some of these are: 

  1. Aloe Vera gel for relieving and soothing inflamed gum tissues
  2. Calcium and magnesium
  3. Chamomile tea
  4. Copper and zinc
  5. Echinacea
  6. Grape seed extract
  7. Green tea


It is important for those who want to become vegetarians to get as much information as possible from their dentist and nutritionist and from any literature that is available. They should learn about supplements and food substitutes if they are to maintain a properly-balanced and nutritious diet. It is essential to prepare and make yourself as knowledgeable as possible before embarking on life as a vegetarian. It is also important to let your doctor and dentist know about your diet and medical history. 

The best way to protect the teeth and gums is to maintain a healthy diet and follow a good oral hygiene routine. A balanced diet with a varied selection of vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes will help everyone, vegetarian or otherwise, to keep their smile and bodies healthy. Above all, make regular visits to your dentist for check-ups and to have your teeth professionally cleaned. If you have other questions, contact someone like Gentle Dental Family Care to learn more.