diet

How Being Vegan Affects Your Teeth

March 1st, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no doubt that a plant-based diet is optimal for health. Omnivores and vegans alike
benefit from the nutrients present in plants.

But how does what we eat relate to our dental health?

Is a vegan diet better or worse for dental health?

Well, it depends. There are some concerns for oral health when one consumes a vegan diet. Here are the main ones:

Vitamin B12 deficiency

A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Vegans should supplement with adequate B12, as plants do not provide this important nutrient.

Lack of remineralizing foods

Remineralization occurs when essential minerals that support hardened, healthy enamel are resupplied to the tooth after loss caused by acid erosion. The best remineralizing foods include cheese, meat, and milk, but nuts and leafy greens can also help.

Lack of important amino acids

One example is the amino acid arginine, which is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy.
Arginine helps prevent cavities and gum disease by breaking down dental plaque. While  arginine is found in higher quantities in meat, vegan sources of arginine include pumpkin seeds, peanuts, soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Calcium concerns

Your body needs enough calcium to support healthy teeth and gums. Vegans need to supplement their diet with plenty of plant sources that contain calcium (almonds, leafy greens, beans, etc.) as well as fortified vegan milks (almond, soy, rice, etc.).

Frequent snacking

Continual snacking provides an environment for bacteria to thrive and attack your tooth’s  enamel. Vegans may be more prone to frequent snacking in an effort to meet their body’s need for energy. You may find eating meals with a higher fat content helps you stay full for longer periods of time.

More sugars/starches in the diet

It can be easy as a vegan to eat a diet based on sweet/starchy foods like fruits and grains  (cereal, bread, pasta, crackers, rice, etc.). But the bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay thrive on sugar. Make sure to round out your diet with non-sugary foods, such as tofu, nuts, seeds, and plenty of vegetables.

If you’re a vegan, you already know you have to be mindful of certain key nutrients that you may need to focus on or supplement in your diet. Keep this list in mind to ensure your dental health is also in tip-top shape!

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. For more information about brushing and flossing check out our preventive care page. Still want more information? Check out our blog posts on prevention! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

 

Caries Risk Assessment - What's the big deal?

May 4th, 2017

What is the Caries Risk Assessment Tool?

The Caries Risk Assessment Tool is a research-based tool used to identify the risk factors that cause dental decay. It is also used to provide recommendations to reduce the risk of future cavities.  It has been well documented that dental decay affects children throughout their childhood and into their early adulthood.  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that there has been a significant increase in dental decay in primary (baby) teeth.  This study further revealed that in U.S. children ages 2-5, one in four had dental decay.  Moreover, one half of children ages 12-15 had dental decay.

Why is this needed?

Instead of just filling cavities, this new method helps identify the cavity-forming risk factors and then provides guidelines to prevent future dental cavities.  The old method of just treating dental decay did not address the root factors that cause dental decay.  Several years ago, leading dental experts, ranging from educators, clinicians, and policy makers, converged to create the Caries Risk Assessment tool. Using the Caries Risk Assessment is a new paradigm shift that helps health care providers and educators provide specific recommendations to decrease the risk of getting dental caries.

What are the categories?

There are 3 risk categories:  High, Moderate, and Low

For each category there are recommendations based on the child’s age.

Some common recommendations include: nutrition changes, use of fluoride supplements, sealants, and more frequent cleaning and checkups.

Still need more information?

For additional information you may contact these organizations:

I've got it, what should I expect at my child's next dental visit?

At your child's next dental checkup visit, you will be asked a few questions that will help determine your child's risk for dental decay.  These responses will be used along with the information Dr. Allen Job gather's during your child's examination to determine your child's risk for dental decay.  Dr. Job and his team will be review that information with you at the end of the appointment.

How often will the Caries Risk Assessment be performed?

The Caries Risk Assessment will be performed each time at you're child's checkup appointment.  This is an ongoing process.   Our goal at All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is to prevent dental decay from starting in your child.  This involves providing you with easy ways to prevent dental decay. Our secondary goal is to convert Moderate and High Risk patients into Low Risk patients.

Contact our office, All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen Job.  Dr. Job and his team will be able to provide you with more information for your child at his or her visit.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.