Oral implications of the vegan diet: observational study
The aim of this study was to investigate oral changes in subjects who have assumed a vegan diet for a long time (at least 18 months), that is to say, a diet completely lacking in meat and animal derivatives. A sample of 15 subjects was analyzed, all from northern Italy and aged 24 to 60 year, composed of 11 men and 4 women who had been following a vegan diet for a minimum of 18 months to a maximum of 20 years. In parallel with the study sample, a control group (15 subjects) with the same criteria of age, sex, and place of origin all following an omnivorous diet was chosen. The sample answered a questionnaire that investigated their eating habits, the frequency with which they eat meals, the main foodstuffs assumed, oral hygiene habits, and any painful symptomatology of the teeth or more general problems in the oral cavity. The sample was then subject to objective examination in which the saliva pH was measured and the teeth were checked for demineralization of the enamel, white spots, and caries (using KaVo DIAGNOdent) with particular attention being paid to the localization of these lesions, and lastly, sounding was carried out to detect any osseous defects and periodontal pockets. The study revealed greater incidence of demineralization and white spots in the vegan subjects compared to the omnivorous ones localized at the neck of the teeth and on the vestibular surfaces of dental elements (with the exception of the lower anterior group). The saliva pH, more acid in the omnivorous patients, ranged between four and six. Changes in oral conditions in both groups of subjects were observed. In order to research into the cause-effect relationship of the vegan diet on the oral cavity effectively, the sample needs to be studied for a longer period of time and the results re-evaluated.