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Giri Palani, DDS, FICOI
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Vegans Tend to Have More Dental Health Problems than Meat Eaters


Posted on 5/17/2016 by Giri Palani
A salmon filet being prepared  for a vegan customer.Have you switched to a vegan diet in order to try and improve your health? There are a variety of great reasons to switch to this diet, and it can help you to maintain a healthy weight.

Unfortunately, these benefits don't always extend to your dental health, as recent studies have found that vegans tend to have more problems with their teeth than meat eaters.

This study was found in PLOS ONE, and indicated that an amino acid known as arginine plays an important role in oral health. This amino acid is found in dairy foods and meat (including fish, poultry, and red meat), and it works to break down plaque, which is crucial for avoiding gum disease and cavities. This means that if you are only eating a vegan diet, you could be missing out on this important nutrient for your teeth.

Another important amino acid for the teeth is also found in dairy, fish, and poultry - L-arginine. This specific type of arginine is known for stopping biofilms from growing when placed in a Petri dish that contained bacteria common in the human mouth. For those of us who eat a traditional diet including meat, this is great news, but vegans won't enjoy the same benefits.

Fortunately, just because you are a vegan doesn't mean that there aren't other ways for you to get these helpful nutrients. While it is true that meat and dairy are the best sources, there are some vegetables that contain arginine in lower amounts. Your best option will be black beans, although bean sprouts and soy beans may also provide you with some of these benefits.

Are you concerned that your vegan diet might be negatively impacting your oral health? Contact our office about your diet and to see what you can do to improve your oral health.
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