According to stats, the number of vegans in the U.K has increased by 445,428 (40%) over the last year, and by 2025 it’s predicted that vegans and vegetarians will make up a quarter of the British population. But what does a vegan diet mean for your teeth, particularly when it comes to gum disease? We’re exploring this subject in the blog below, so if you’ve been vegan for a while, or you’re new to the diet, read on to find out more.
The types of vitamins and minerals that support good gum health
Identifying which vitamins and minerals make for good gum health is a good place to start.
Vitamin C: an all-round good friend to your general health, vitamin C supports the body’s whole immune system, including protecting your gums from the threat of gum disease.
Vitamin D: recent studies have shown that vitamin D can help the body fight off gum disease, by potentially decreasing inflammation and the oral microbes related to gum disease.
Calcium: as calcium supports your jawbone, it strengthens it against the bacteria that causes gum disease, and eventual tooth loss.
Iron: iron is fantastic for maintaining good energy levels, and when we are deficient in it, this can lead to anaemia which lowers your immune system’s guard. A consequence of this is tongue inflammation and the formation of sores, increasing your risk of gum disease.
Where can you find these vitamins and minerals in a vegan diet?
So now we know the vitamins and minerals the body needs for fighting off the threat of gum disease, how can these be incorporated into a vegan diet? The good news is, with more vegan food options than ever before, it’s never been easier to find these essential healthy building blocks in a vegan diet.
Vitamin C: a vegan diet lends itself well to getting the right amount of vitamin C. Think foods like kale, spring greens, tomatoes, berries, peppers, oranges and strawberries. Remember, that if you’re a smoker, you should be aiming to consume more than the average amount of vitamin C, as smoking reduces the absorption of vitamin C in the body.
Vitamin D: vitamin D stands out on our list, as even those who eat meat, fish and dairy struggle to hit the right amount of vitamin D each day, which is why many people take supplements. Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D, particularly portobello, morels, button and shiitake. Fortified plant-based milk, tofu and orange juice also contain vitamin D, but one of best ways you can find it is to spend some time in the sun! Taking supplements during the winter is especially important, as we all tend to see less sunlight than during the other seasons.
Calcium: with fish and dairy (both calcium-rich foods) off the menu on a vegan diet, you will need to find your calcium elsewhere. Some great alternatives include soy beans, bok choy, tofu, calcium-fortified nut milks, almonds, kale and broccoli.
Iron: there are two forms of iron, which are heme and non-heme. As a vegan diet only contains non-heme iron (heme iron is found in meat, poultry and fish) it’s important that vegans make sure they’re hitting the right amount of iron each day, and eating foods that promote iron absorption – avocados and whole wheat products are especially good for this. Pairing iron-rich foods with vitamin C will also help the body to better absorb it. You can find your iron in foods like spinach, legumes, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and dried apricots, to name just a few.
As a vegan, how often should I see the hygienist?
If you’ve just embarked on the vegan diet, you should come in for an appointment to speak to the hygienist about the changes you plan to make to your diet. Here at one80, we can offer more detailed advice on the kinds of foods to eat, and let you know how often to visit, once we have examined the condition of your gums. If your gums are in good health, we recommend visiting every 6 months, to have any plaque build up removed. If you are suffering from gingivitis (the early onset of gum disease), or periodontitis (advanced gum disease), we are likely to request that you visit more often so these issues can be monitored and treated accordingly.
Keeping dental problems at bay on a vegan diet?
- Make sure you’re following a balanced diet.
- Keep your intake of acidic and high-sugar foods to a minimum.
- Consume water frequently, particularly after meals to wash away food particles.
- Wait half an hour after a meal to brush your teeth to prevent enamel erosion.
- Use an electric toothbrush to minimise the risk of over brushing and compromising your tooth enamel and the possibility of gum recession.
How is gum disease treated at one80 Dental?
There are a number of treatments for gum disease and depending on the extent of the problem, the type of treatment can vary. Whether you’re displaying early signs of gum disease, or you’re suffering from periodontitis, our team have a breadth of knowledge and experience to not only stabilise active gum disease, but to prevent further progression and relapse.
Here at one80 Dental in Sheffield, we’re fortunate to have Dr Tawfiquer Rahman on our team, who has extensive additional training and expertise in treating gum disease. Dr Rahman is skilled in carrying out surgical treatment to treat severe gum disease, using some of the most advanced techniques and equipment. Tools such as the Periflow system allow for minimally-invasive and effective treatment of periodontal pockets, interdental spaces and implant surfaces, whilst our EMS Perio-flow system is highly effective at reaching difficult areas of the mouth, removing tenacious plaque, without the use of metal scraping tools.
If you’re thinking ‘where can I find a dentist near me to have my gum health examined?’, choose one80 Dental for excellent care and treatment. We can offer face-to-face appointments, of home video consultations for both new and existing patients. Get in touch with our Sheffield dental practice to receive treatment from a diligent, experienced and friendly team.
We’re also currently offering free consultations with our Treatment Advisor, so you can find out more about your options, and ask any questions you may have. Book now using our online contact form.