Over the years, there has been a push in the dietary world for more patients to pursue a diet that’s gluten-free. As your Georgetown dentists, we thought it was a good time to talk about how this might affect your oral health too. There are so many reasons why people choose to be gluten-free. Sometimes this dietary change is due to choice. Other times, it’s out of necessity. Those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance avoid gluten because it makes them incredibly sick. In these individuals, gluten can also cause irreversible tooth damage and other serious oral health concerns.
What is Gluten Anyway?
Is gluten really that bad? Why is everyone so sensitive about it? Gluten is actually a term used to describe proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. When all of these proteins are mixed together, they act like a glue that holds together the food so it can maintain its shape. You might be surprised to find out what foods contain gluten, it can even be found in condiments.
What About My Oral Health?
Usually signs of celiac disease or gluten intolerance are found in your gastrointestinal tract, but all parts of your digestive system, including your mouth are at risk. Research has shown that when you eat gluten if you’re intolerant, your body is unable to absorb essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. This definitely includes Vitamin D which helps to protect your tooth enamel from erosion and decay. Without your enamel, teeth are exposed to many unwanted health problems, such as:
- Canker sores
- Painful, red, swollen gums
- Tooth discoloration
- Pitted teeth
It’s important to note that gluten itself doesn’t affect individuals without celiac disease the same way it does those who do have it. Seek medical advice before making any significant changes to your diet.
At our Georgetown dental office, we support any diet that makes you feel healthy, including if you choose to eat gluten-free. For our patients that do have celiac disease, we encourage you to avoid gluten, not only for your oral health, but for your overall health as well. Schedule a visit to discuss options for keeping your smile healthy for years to come.