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Vegetarian – a person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, fish, chicken. Vegan– no food  derived from animals, such as eggs or cheese, but instead eatsCosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc.

Many people in society today have chosen to go Vegetarian for many reasons. One of the main reasons people choose this lifestyle is to live healthier. Most well balanced vegetarians have excellent oral health, but while a vegetarian diet has great health benefits it can adversely affect your oral health if not watched carefully. The vegetarian diet eliminates certain food groups which can cause the loss of certain nutrients essential for oral health.

Some Vegetarians experience deficiencies in calcium, fiber, and Vitamin D putting them at increased risk for periodontal disease. If you choose to forgo animal based food it is imperative that you find food alternatives and supplement options that can help you maintain not only your dental health but also your overall health.

Cause For Dental Concern Among Vegetarians

Many who enter into the vegetarian lifestyle go into it full of knowledge regarding dietary options by consuming vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes to get the vitamins and nutrients they need on a daily basis.  Studies have shown though that an adult eating a vegetarian diet for an extended period of time can be at an increased risk for a lack of vitamin D and calcium. Generally, we get lax over time and may not be as good at maintaining a well balanced diet to include everything we need.

A deficiency of vitamin D and calcium can cause teeth to weaken over time, which makes them more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease. However, vitamin D is produced naturally in the body with normal sun exposure, so deficiencies are quite rare. Deficiencies in calcium are much more common but can be easily remedied with the proper diet and supplements. Studies have shown that people who consume less than the recommended daily amount of calcium are almost twice as likely to have periodontal disease.

Dairy products (milk, cheese and yogurt) are the best sources of calcium. Certain products are also fortified with calcium like soy milk, breakfast cereals, and orange juice. However, for vegans, there are several other types of non-dairy sources of calcium that you can choose to ensure your daily calcium intake. Bean products, such as tofu, as well as sesame seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and green leafy vegetables particularly okra and curly kale are excellent choices and today, certain products like soy milk , bottled water, breakfast cereals and orange juice are also fortified with extra calcium.

Vegetarina Dental Concerns Marielaina Perrone DDS

The potential for nutritional deficiencies is greatest among children and teenagers who decide to become vegetarians. This is because they generally do not know enough about their nutritional needs. Also, some vegetarians are at risk for nutritional deficiencies in vitamin B2 and vitamin B12 as well as calcium and vitamin D.

Dental Health Advantages of Vegetarian Choices

Fresh fruits and vegetable can provide increased saliva production which in turn neutralizes acids. Fresh fruits and vegetables do not contain carbohydrates that can be readily fermented by bacteria, the fiber content actually helps clean the teeth, therefore protecting against dental caries. The best choices to supplement fiber are low acid beans and legumes or whole grain products.

Supplement Options For Vegetarians

There are countless supplement options on the market today to achieve proper nutritional intake of vitamins and minerals. Some of these supplements also offer some dental benefit. These include:

Coenzyme Q10. Studies have shown it promotes gum healing and cell growth.
Lysine. Known to have some effectiveness in combating canker sores.
Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids. Promotes healing, especially of gingival tissue that is inflamed and bleeding from periodontal disease.
Calcium and Magnesium. Believed to help prevent bone loss around the teeth.
Vitamins A and E. Are needed for healing gingival tissue.
Grape Seed Extract. Is known as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Zinc plus Copper. Enhances immune function.
Aloe Vera Gel. Relieves inflamed gums and soothes the tissues when applied directly to the inflamed area of tissue.
Chamomile Tea. Soothing to gingival tissues.
Green Tea. Is helpful in decay prevention and decreases plaque.
Echinacea. Keeps inflammation down and enhances immune function.


Remember that anyone considering adopting a vegetarian lifestyle should seek  out information  from books, their physician, or a nutritionist to learn about substitutes to ensure maintenance of a well balanced diet. This should not just be jumped into without proper knowledge and preparation. Patients should also inform their physicians or dentist as part of their medical history if they are vegetarian.

A healthy well balanced diet and maintaining a good dental hygiene regimen are the best defense against problems with your gums and teeth. Eating a balanced variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes will help vegetarians (and anyone for that matter) achieve a healthy, well balanced diet and a healthy smile. As always see your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.

Osteoporosis…What Is It?

Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that leads to a decreased density of bone and subsequent increase in risk of fracture. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone micro architecture deteriorates, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone are altered.

Osteoporosis is a bone weakening disease that has affected millions of people worldwide. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that osteoporosis is a health threat for about 44 million people in the United States alone. The disease is far more prevalent in women than men. According to The National Osteoporosis Foundation, women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.

Because of these numbers, it is important for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet even in their youth. Exercise and a proper diet for young women can help build strong bone mass for the future to avoid issues (like osteoporosis) later in life. There are recent studies showing that women who drink wine in moderation tend to have higher bone density than those who abstain from alcohol.

Medications Used for Osteoporosis and their Dental Link

Certain osteoporosis medications (also called bisphosphonates) have possibly been linked to osteonecrosis

Osteoporosis - Marielaina Perrone DDS

Normal Bone Vs. Osteoporosis Bone

(or “death of bone”) of the jaw. Osteonecrosis is bone death caused by poor blood supply to the area. It is most common in the hip and shoulder, but can affect other large joints such as knee, elbow, wrist, ankle, and jaw. Osteonecrosis is a rare and serious disease that can causes destruction of the jawbone. a condition marked by pain, swelling, infection and exposed bone. The majority of cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw involve people with cancer who have been treated with intravenous bisphosphonates. A  number of cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw have been reported in people taking oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis. These have been primarily associated with active dental disease or a recent dental procedure, such as a tooth extraction.

Osteonecrosis can occur at any age range and can affect a wide range of ethnicity’s. Osteoporosis is considered a very serious disease and is responsible for well over 1.5 million bone fractures per year.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), osteonecrosis of the jaw linked with osteoporosis medications has mainly been seen in cancer patients who are receiving the bisphosphonates intravenously. In fact, 94% of the cases reported are linked to intravenously-administered bisphosphonates while only 6% are linked with the oral medications.

How Do Bisphosphonates Cause These Bone Issues?

Bisphosphonates are very effective in slowing down the breakdown of bone by targeting the cells which breakdown bone (osteoclasts). An unfortunate side effect is, that they also slow down the bone cells which create new bone (osteoblasts). In areas of the body where the bones do not change much after development, (leg, hip, arm bones), this is not very disruptive. In areas such as the jaw, where bone is constantly reforming and reshaping, the lack of strong bone rebuilding cells is inhibitive to forming new bone after an extraction.

Common Bisphosphonates for Osteoporosis Treatment

Osteoporosis Fosamax Marielaina Perrone DDS

Osteoporosis Medication – Fosamax






What causes Osteonecrosis?

Osteonecrosis occurs when part of the bone does not get blood and dies. After a while the bone can collapse. If this condition is not treated, the joint will deteriorate and this will become severe arthritis.

Osteonecrosis can be caused by disease, or a severe trauma, that affects the blood supply directly to the bone. Many times, no trauma or disease is present. This is called “idiopathic osteonecrosis” (which means it occurs with no known cause).

Direct Causes of Osteonecrosis:

-Long term use of steroids.

-Abuse of alcohol.

-Sickle Cell Disease.

-Radiation therapy.

-Gaucher Disease. This is a genetic disease in which a fatty substance (lipid) accumulates in cells and certain organs.

-Decompression sickness from a lot of deep sea diving

-Break, Dislocation, fractures around a joint.

Diseases Associated with Osteonecrosis:




Osteonecrosis Symptoms

-Loosening of teeth.

-Pain in the Jawbone.

-Swelling in the area affected.

-Bone becoming exposed.

-Reoccurring Infection.

Osteoporosis Conclusion

It is good to remember that osteonecrosis of the jaw bone from bisphosphonate medication use is quite rare. The drugs being used to counteract osteoporosis have proven benefits to counteract a very serious disease and reduce bone loss. If you are taking any of the bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis call your physician before stopping them. It is also very important to inform your dentist that you are taking such medications so they can have it in their medical history in case something arises during your course of treatment.

Maintain a proper diet, exercise regimen, along with regular visits to your dentist and physician to keep your osteoporosis under control.