Caries and erosion are common diseases of the dental hard tissues. The influence of vegetarianism on the development of caries and erosion has scarcely been investigated in the past. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of fruit consumption and topical fluoride application on the prevalence of caries and erosion in vegetarians.
In 100 vegetarians and 100 nonvegetarians, a dental examination was performed. The indices for decayed, missing, filled teeth (DMFT) and surfaces (DMFS) were determined. DMFT and DMFS were subdivided into decayed teeth (DT), filled teeth (FT), decayed surfaces (DS) and filled surfaces (FS). In addition, the hygiene index and the number of teeth with dental erosion (DE), root caries (RC) and overhanging restoration margins (ORM) were recorded. A questionnaire assessed patients’ eating habits, frequency of oral hygiene, dentist visits and topical fluoride application. For statistical analysis, unpaired t-test, Mann–Whitney test and Pearson’s chi-square test were applied.
Vegetarians had significantly more DT (P<0.001), DS (P<0.001), more teeth with DE (P=0.026), RC (P=0.002) and ORM (P<0.001) than nonvegetarians. Daily consumption of fruits was significantly more prevalent (P<0.001), and topical fluoride application was less prevalent (P<0.001) in vegetarians compared with nonvegetarians. In particular, fluoride-containing toothpaste (P<0.001) and table salt (P=0.039) were less frequently used in vegetarians.
The presented data suggest that vegetarians have an increased risk for caries and erosion. Topical fluoride application was shown to be effective in preventing caries, but not in preventing erosion.
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Staufenbiel, I., Adam, K., Deac, A. et al. Influence of fruit consumption and fluoride application on the prevalence of caries and erosion in vegetarians—a controlled clinical trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 69, 1156–1160 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2015.20
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