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Can a Plant-Based Diet Improve Oral Health?

Dental hygienists can play a role in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with poor nutrition and other lifestyle habits. Increasing evidence of the relationship between physical and oral health emphasizes the urgency of increasing the public’s understanding of the effects of poor nutrition. Early data from the COVID-19 pandemic show that those with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease (CVD), are more severely affected by the virus. The mechanisms behind this are not fully understood, but a new study posits that the health of the gut microbiome plays a crucial role. The microbiome is integral to immune function, and diet is important in cultivating healthy gut microbiomes. Eating a high-fiber, plant-rich diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes encourages the growth of a healthy microbiome, improving immunity and overall health.

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The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly what percentage of adults between the ages of 30 and 65 experience periodontal diseases?

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The results of a European study showed that vegetarians had significantly less periodontal disease indicators, including reduced probing depths, less bleeding on probing, decreased tooth mobility, fewer missing teeth, reduced inflammation, and decreased plaque biofilm.

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High serum cholesterol is not associated with systemic diseases such as cardiovascular dieases, diabetes, liver disease, and periodontal diseases.

Cholesterol blocking artery Rasi Bhadramani / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Dietary fats can be both positive and negative to periodontal health, depending on the type of fatty acids present.

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Omnivores consume high levels of cell-destroying saturated fats and must monitor animal sourced, pro-inflammatory arachidonic omega-6 fatty acid intake to ensure they are not overpowering their omega-3 intake.

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The typical omnivorous American diet reduces the harmful effects of fermentable carbohydrates including sugars in beverages and desserts.

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Despite the calcium present in whole milk, the World Health Organization estimates that how many children experience “milk teeth,” or eroded enamel?

Kefir, milk or Turkish Ayran drink are poured into a glass cup from a bottle. Elena Medoks / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Can a Plant-Based Diet Improve Oral Health?
Not bad, but there’s room to grow when it comes to understanding a plant-based diet's impact on oral health. Consider reading more about this important facet of dental hygiene care. Good luck!
Well done! Continue to study a plant-based diet's impact on oral health. You’ve got this!
Congrats! You understand the importance of a plant-based diet's impact on oral health. Get out there and put your know-how to good use!

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This information is from the article Effects of a Plant-Based Diet on Oral Health by Raymond Di Martino and Diana Macri, RDH, BSDH, MSEd. To read the article, click here.

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