Going to the dentist isn't any fun, but it is one of those things that just has to be done. For years, I fought the process and didn't go for my regular cleanings and in the end, it sure didn't pay to do so. I ended up spending ten times as much time in the chair and a boat-load of money in dental repairs. If you don't like going to the dentist, you can make it easier on yourself. This blog will show you a few tips that can help you improve the experience and get through the treatment without as much discomfort.
In order to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you need to make sure you're getting enough calcium, magnesium, vitamin B3 and vitamin B12 in your diet. Since the best sources of these four nutrients tend to be meats and animal products, those who follow vegan diets don't always get enough. This can lead to an increased risk of oral health issues, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and canker sores. Here's a closer look at the tooth-friendly nutrients that can be tough to get on a vegan diet, along with some tips for increasing your intake of each of them.
Perhaps the best-known of the tooth-friendly nutrients, calcium is a primary component of tooth enamel. Without enough calcium, your enamel may become thin and weak, leading not only to cavities, but also to tooth sensitivity and discoloration. The RDA for calcium is 1,000 mg per day for males ages 19 - 70 and for females ages 19 - 50. Females ages 51 an older and males ages 71 and older should consume at least 1,200 mg per day.
Since calcium-rich dairy products are not a part of a vegan diet, make sure you're eating plenty of these calcium-rich plant foods:
Magnesium works with calcium to build healthy tooth enamel, and researchers have found that magnesium deficiency is linked to an increased risk of periodontal disease. Males ages 19 - 30 should aim for 400 mg per day, and those ages 31 and older should aim for 420 mg per day. The RDA for women ages 19 - 30 is 310 mg; women ages 31 and older should aim for 320 mg.
Magnesium deficiency is quite prevalent among the general population, and it's likely even more common in vegans, since they don't eat some of the best sources of magnesium like salmon and milk. But, you can meet the RDA for magnesium on a vegan diet if you're careful to eat a lot of these foods:
A lack of vitamin B3, also known as niacin, can lead to bad breath and canker sores, as this vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy cheek and gum tissues. The RDA for niacin is 16 mg per day for adult males and 14 mg per day for adult females. People who eat foods like tuna, chicken and turkey have no trouble reaching this RDA, but those on a vegan diet may struggle since vegan sources of niacin are few and far between. Make sure you're eating these niacin-rich foods whenever you get the chance:
Mouth sores are a common sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. Some people who are deficient also develop serious periodontitis. Since the body can store quite a large amount of vitamin B12, you may not begin noticing signs of deficiency right away, but many vegans do end up deficient in vitamin B12 since it is almost exclusively found in animal products. The RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg per day for adults. Many vegans are not able to reach this requirement without a supplement. But, there are a few foods you can eat to boost your intake.
Brands and individual products vary, so you'll have to check the label to find out the exact amount of vitamin B12 a fortified product provides.
If you're not sure whether your vegan diet is providing the nutrients your teeth and gums need for good health, talk to your general dental clinic or dentist. He or she can take a close look in your mouth and let you know if you're suffering from any issues that may indicate a deficiency.