Dental Health & Diet

The Dental Benefits of Plant-Based Diets

When it comes to things you can do for the betterment of your teeth and overall oral health, we tend to think of brushing our teeth, flossing, and seeing our dentists twice a year for the best results. And to think of these things first is the best thing, considering they are the best possible ways to improve your dental health drastically if you’ve not been keeping up on them up until now.

But what’s beyond this? What other ways can we improve our dental health outside of the tried and true dental tools and toothpaste and seeing the doc?

For starters, there’s always the fact that you can drink more water than you think you already have. Water is amazing for your oral health in keeping your mouth hydrated, clean, washing away food debris, and warding off bacteria that thrive on dry environments.

But outside of that, one of the best things you can do for your oral health is switch up your diet for the better. And one way to do that is eat far more vegetables than you already have been.

I’m currently switching to a pescatarian diet, meaning I’ll be eating far more vegetables than I have in recent memory. But along with that comes a loss in the meat I used to consume, which can have implications on dental health.

So what are you supposed to do in this scenario? Vegetables and chewing them up actually can be a way to clean your teeth, especially in thicker-skinned vegetables that take longer to chew. Leafy vegetables also do the same trick in “swabbing” your teeth as you grind them, almost in a faux toothbrush sort of way.

The thing to be careful about is keeping track of your vitamin D levels. If you switch to a plant-based diet only, you’ll be losing out on a lot of valuable vitamin D, which is why I want to incorporate fish in my diet to make up for that lost from meat and animal products. Just as well, the omega 3 fatty acids from fish like salmon are incredible for your oral health.

One thing to consider when eating more plant based foods, though, is to be careful about the amount of fruit you consume. While fruit is definitely great for you and the sugars and acids in them are good for your stomach health, there are studies that show too much of these sugars and acids from fruits can actually be quite bad for your teeth. So, overall, try to keep your fruit consumption in moderation and even think about brushing your teeth afterwards (or washing it all down with water if you don’t have a toothbrush handy).