A lot of our patients don’t eat meat. There are dozens of completely noble and sound reasons to skip the animal-based proteins, and health benefits, too, like a reduced chance for high blood pressure and cancer! Some people eat vegetarian diets to control their weight.
But since vegetarians may be at a higher risk for gum disease, if you’re a vegetarian or you’re thinking about it, check in with your Garden City dentist about how to protect your oral health next time you’re here.
For the vegetarian newbies, some definitions are in order.
- There are the vegetarians who only eat fish. These are called pescetarians–people who avoid all meat-based proteins except for fish.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians are the most common sort, these vegetarians consume animal products like cheese, eggs, and yogurt.
- Vegans are vegetarians who also avoid all animal-derived food sources including dairy and eggs, gelatin, etc. Some vegans even avoid honey!
For all types of vegetarians, but vegans especially, it can be difficult to get enough calcium and vitamin D in the diet.
That’s why we recommend taking a few of the following steps:
- If you or someone you care for is going vegetarian, it would be a good idea to consult with a professional dietician.
- Eat a diet rich in broccoli and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collards to get enough calcium. Some products, like orange juice, tofu, soy milk, and cereal are calcium-enriched.
- Be sure to get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is especially tricky for vegetarians because it naturally occurs primarily in fish. However, many of the products listed above that are fortified with calcium are also fortified with vitamin D.
- Consider a vitamin D supplement if you don’t have access to fortified groceries like soy milk, certain cereals, and orange juice.
Still Have Questions?
No problem. Come see us next time you’re near by and talk to us about how to protect your oral health if you’re a vegetarian. And remember, while web research is an important starting place, it’s best to work in concert with your health professionals including your Garden City dentist, your general practitioner, and any specialists you see to ensure a balanced vegetarian diet.