Why Vegans Have Bad Teeth

Saturday Jul 19 | BY |
| Comments (7)


For the past few years I’ve been warning vegans (and especially raw vegans) to take care of their teeth, because these diets are known to cause more dental problems if proper precautions are not taken.

Why is that?

A study done in Germany found that when subjects switched to a high-raw diet, they experienced a higher incidence of enamel erosion.

Other studies showed that even healthy foods such as apples, whole grains and smoothies — can lead to more tooth decay and enamel erosion if the person is sensitive to these problems.

A big reason why vegans have more dental problems is that they often eat all day.

They don’t have proper meals because fruits and vegetables are so low in calories that they get full eating them, and have to continue grazing on fruit all day. It’s better to train yourself to have fewer meals a day, to avoid the constant onslaught of sugar in the mouth.

Also, vegetarian foods contain more acidity, in general.

Author Peta Bee writes in the Daily Mail:

“Dentists at the University of Dundee found that different cooking methods could increase the acidity of vegetarian dishes, such as roasted vegetables. Exposure to high temperatures produced chemical changes that made the acid more concentrated, and more damaging to teeth. In particular, the acidity level of zucchini, peppers, onions and eggplants increased when roasted.”

Many vegan experts deny that fact and yet their followers continue to experience dental disasters.

I want to give you a few simple steps you can follow right away.

A Few Tips That Can Save Your Teeth

Here are a few tips to save your teeth, for anyone eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.

1) Realize that the vegan or raw food diet can be more cariogenic.

“Cariogenic” is a term used by dentists that means “more prone to cause cavities” or causing cavities (caries).

The vegan diet can be more cariogenic because:

– More fruit is consumed, therefore more sugar

– Because fruits and vegetables are low in calories, people tend to eat more often, therefore more exposure to sugar

– More exposure to acidity in lemons, oranges, pineapple, tomatoes, and other acidic foods (as well as roasted vegetables).

– Vegans tend to eat foods that are cariogenic, like dried fruits

Keep in mind that even wild monkeys will get severe dental problems leading to death when fed bananas (even organic ones).

Maybe our natural diet would have contained a lot more tough fiber, but that’s not the cause in modern days so we should not fall in the trap of “everything natural is perfect.

2) Use a tongue scraper, a metal kind (not plastic).

That’s because bacteria can be transferred from your tongue to your teeth.

3) You should brush for at least 5 minutes in total per day.

You don’t need to brush after or before every meal, but you need to brush for a total of 5 minutes or more per day. However you spread that out doesn’t matter as long as you reach every corner of the mouth.

4) Use a water irrigator once a day.

Like the waterpik, or Vita-Jet.

5) Floss once a day.

6) If necessary, use a fluoride toothpaste.

However, if you’ve recently experienced a lot dental decay, you should temporarily use a fluoride toothpaste or rinse to re-strengthen your enamel.

I know there are controversies around the use of fluoride but keep in mind I’m not advocating adding it to water.

However, it really works to strengthen the enamel in individuals that have experienced decay, and can stop the progression of the disease.

The only way to prevent dental decay for life and reverse a bad situation is to take active control of your oral environment. Just controlling your diet does not address the root of the problem.

Post Your Comments Below

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. josie says:

    I’m a 45 year old vegan and I DO NOT have bad teeth. I haven’t had a cavity since forever. I’ve never had a root canal. I see the dentist once a year. I brush twice a day and floss every other day. I can’t understand why people say their teeth get worse once they start eating more vegetables, raw or cooked. I use Burt’s Bees toothpaste, with fluoride and without. I used to use conventional toothpaste until it became too foamy for my taste. I use Crest White Strips maybe once a year. I DO NOT, however, eat sugar, coffee, soda, or anything in a box. I simply eat beans, rice, and lots of vegetables and fruit. Yesterday I ate oatmeal with walnuts and berries. Lunch was cut up carrots, apples, and beets, fresh peas, and fresh pineapple with berries. Dinner was the same. People ask me if my teeth are false. I say no, I just brush and floss regularly, drink lots of water, and do not eat sugar. It’s that simple. P.S. My teeth cleaning is $250.00 a year, which equals $21.00 a month to save up for.

  2. Sondra says:

    Thank you, I am surprised! Was unaware until hearing this from you. Thought it would be the opposite since vegans eat little if any junk food or refined food. Knowing this I will take extra precaution in caring for my teeth. I am 65 years old and have been a vegan for 15 years. So far so good. No unusual problems with my teeth. I appreciate the warning to keep a close watch on them.

  3. Steve says:

    You say that you ‘don’t advocate adding fluoride to water’ but I would imagine that if it is being swirled around the mouth for 5 mins a day it would be absorbed sub lingually?

  4. Ed Kingham says:

    I agree that raw and vegan diets have the potential for dental problems. But, I would urge folks to only use fluoride as a last resort or not at all. Teeth are alive. Fluid flows through healthy, live teeth. Fluoride petrifies teeth. No more fluid flow, which is not a good thing. See Hal Huggins’ website, former dentist and amazing dental researcher for more info.

  5. Dear Kevin,
    The information you have published in this email leaves me confused.
    You advertised on your site the ultimate Encyclopedia of all time….cures and healing for everything, which I purchased.
    It has an entire page in there on how bad flouride is for your teeth and all of the ill effects it causes.
    Can you shed some light on this contradiction in information. Thank you. J.A.

    • I didn’t write the book in question, and there may be differences in opinion. In the scientific community, there’s no debate about the use of fluoride topically (in toothpaste, for example). It really works. So I recommend it for people who have had serious dental problems or are prone to decay. The talks of fluoride in toothpaste poisoning your body are bogus. There is no scientific evidence at all for that. The debate is about fluoride in water, which is another issue.

  6. I am not quite sure how important it is to brush teeth? I am saying this because didn’t Weston Price analyze teeth and find examples of people who brushed their teeth and had tooth decay and he also found people who never brushed their teeth who didn’t have tooth decay. In fact he had to clean their teeth a little to see if there was any decay. Doesn’t it all come down to what you eat?

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