Oral health in a cohort of individuals on a plant-based diet: a pilot study
Plant-based diets are associated with a lower: (i) body mass index, (ii) rates of death from ischemic heart disease, (iii) serum cholesterol, (iv) incidence of high blood pressure, (v) type II diabetes mellitus and cancer, with an overall longer life expectancy. However, little data concerning the oral health in individuals on a plant-based diet are available.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the general and clinical oral health status in a cohort of adults who had been following a plant-based diet for a minimum of 24 months.
Materials And Methods
For this purpose, individuals were administered two questionnaires (a.Questionnaire investigating risk areas for oral diseases; b. Italian version of the Oral Health Impact Profile -14 (IOHIP-14)) by a dental hygienist and clinical examination of the oral cavity was carried out.
Seventy-seven adult individuals were enrolled. On average, they followed a plant-based diet for the last four years, had four meals a day and brushed their teeth twice a day. Fruit was the most frequently consumed food at breakfast by 48 of the participants. Thirty-four responders did not drink beer or wine, 65 did not drink spirits, 57 avoided carbonated beverages and 62 (80.5%) did not consume any highly-sugared beverages. Different dental therapies in the previous three years were reported in 36 of the responders. Overall, answers “never and almost never” to the IOHIP-14 questionnaire were observed in 87% to 100% of the individuals. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that fresh fruit consumption at lunch had a protective effect against caries (p < 0.05).
In conclusion, this study showed that individuals on a plant-based diet have good overall oral health conditions. These features are in agreement with the behavior of these subjects towards an overall healthy life style.