Some believe gluten is harmful to the body.
Others wonder whether or not gluten is harmful to oral health.
With November (Gluten-Free Awareness Month) coming up, it’s important to touch on this topic.
So, can gluten harm oral health?
No, gluten itself will not hamper oral health. However, gluten can be harmful to your oral health, that is, if you suffer from celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. Gluten can potentially negatively impact oral health to these folks by causing:
Likely due to a higher bacteria count in those who are gluten sensitive or suffer from celiac disease, canker sores are likely to form. While these heal with a few weeks, these can be painful, and one should stay away from acidic and spicy foods when dealing with canker sores.
- Tooth deformity (in severe cases)
A different shape or appearance in the teeth may be a symptom of a gluten sensitivity as well. Teeth may even appear translucent or blotchy. Because those suffering from celiac disease have difficulty absorbing vital nutrients, this usually means weakened, deformed, or deteriorated bones and teeth.
- Tooth enamel deterioration or damage
Those with celiac disease in particular are known to have enamel-related issues. Deterioration or damage in the form of a holey or gritty texture to the enamel is not uncommon. This is likely due to the lack of nutrients given to the teeth to keep a strong, healthy enamel layer.
Check with your dentist to see what can be done about your enamel deterioration or damage. Remineralizing gels in minor cases or intake of extra fluoride through other sources may be advised. Tooth sensitivity toothpastes may also be an option, again in less extreme cases. Check with a dentist first.
Yet another oral-related problem tied with celiac disease is tooth discoloration, often brown, yellow, or white spots. Weakened enamel and composition of the teeth can easily be discolored and may require a visit to the dentist to see if this issue can be fixed.
Believed to be caused by a higher level of bacteria in the body, thus more oral bacteria housing in the mouth, gum disease is another likely outcome of those who consume gluten whose bodies are not able to properly digest. For this reason, upkeeping your oral health and biannual dental appointments is a must.
How can I prevent these oral-related issues from occurring?
The best way to avoid these problems is to keep to a gluten-free diet. Luckily, many gluten-free foods and alternatives are available for those suffering with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten. Speak with your doctor about a gluten-free diet and what you should and should not be consuming.
In severe cases, visit a doctor if a gluten-free diet is not helping you and your oral health. You may require further professional treatment. Taking probiotics (live, healthy bacteria that fight against bad bacteria in the gut, thus rest of the body) may also be helpful. Speak to a doctor first.