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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;67(8):836-40. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.101. Epub 2013 May 29.

Periodontal conditions in vegetarians: a clinical study.

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1
Department of Conservative Dentistry, Periodontology and Preventive Dentistry, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. staufenbiel.ingmar@mh-hannover.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:

Investigations about possible correlations between vegetarian diet and periodontal conditions are rare and characterized by small case numbers. The aim of this clinical study was to investigate the influence of a vegetarian diet on periodontal parameters with an appropriate sample size.

SUBJECTS/METHODS:

A total of 200 patients, 100 vegetarians and 100 non-vegetarians, were included in the study. All patients were examined including a full mouth assessment of the periodontal and dental conditions. In addition, a questionnaire was handed out to ask for patients' oral hygiene habits and level of education. For statistical analysis the Mann-Whitney Test (χ(2) for analysis of the questionnaire) was applied (level of significance: P<0.05).

RESULTS:

Well known periodontal risk factors like age, gender and smoking habits were equally distributed within each group (71 females, 29 males, respectively and 10 smokers in each group; mean age: 41.45 years vegetarians versus 41.72 years non-vegetarians). Vegetarians had significantly lower probing pocket depths (P=0.039), bleeding on probing (P=0.001), periodontal screening index (P=0.012), a better hygiene index (P<0.001) and less mobile teeth (P=0.013). Dental examinations revealed significantly less missing teeth (P=0.018) but also more decayed (P=0.001) and eroded (P=0.026) teeth in vegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians had a higher level of education (P<0.001), but visited dentists significantly less frequent.

CONCLUSIONS:

Vegetarians revealed better periodontal conditions (less inflammation signs, less periodontal damage and a better dental home care). However, it should be considered that vegetarians are not only avoiding meat in their nutrition but are also characterized by an overall healthier life style.

PMID:
23714722
DOI:
10.1038/ejcn.2013.101
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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