Ask a Dentist

February 24, 2023

Q: Is A Vegetarian Diet Good For My Oral Health?

Random drawings of food including a bowl of rice, carrot, salad bowl, avocado, sandwich, fork, apple, potato and a slice of tomato.

A vegetarian diet generally relies on fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts, and cuts out meat or poultry. There are different types of veggie-based diets, such as:

  • Pescatarians eat eggs, dairy products and seafood but no meat or poultry.
  • Vegetarians consume eggs and dairy products but no meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Vegans stay away from all animal products, including eggs and dairy products.

Evidence suggests that a vegetarian diet can lower cholesterol, reduce weight and decrease the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. It can also help prevent cancers of the stomach, lungs, pancreas, large intestine and rectum.

Possible Nutrient Deficiency

Many different types of vitamins and minerals keep your teeth and gums healthy. For vegetarians to get all the nutrients needed to avoid dental issues, it’s essential to eat a wide variety of foods. It’s especially crucial to get enough calcium, vitamin D and protein, which can be lacking in vegetarian diets.


Calcium is necessary for strong teeth and bones. Dairy products like milk and cheese are a great source of this mineral. For those who avoid dairy, you can still get plenty of calcium from leafy greens (kale, broccoli, turnip greens and collard greens), tofu and chickpeas.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Vitamin D foods include fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks and milk which are avoided by vegans and vegetarians. But, you can get an adequate amount of vitamin D through:

  • Vitamin D-fortified products, including soy milk, cereals and juices
  • Exposure to sunlight 
  • Vitamin D supplements (be sure to consult with a physician first)


Protein provides the best source of phosphorus, which works with calcium to maintain strong teeth and bones. Some plant-based proteins vegetarians can digest are:

  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Soy products
  • Seeds and nuts 
  • Whole grains

Eggs and dairy can be excellent sources of protein for a pescatarian or vegetarian. 

If you’re considering or already living a vegetarian lifestyle, talk to your doctor, dentist and dietician or nutritionist. They can ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients to keep your teeth and body healthy.

Has it been a while since you visited a dentist? Set up a checkup with Dental Image Therapy Centres to make sure your diet isn't negatively affecting your oral health. Visit us at Garden City Shopping Centre or St. Vital Centre today.

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