Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is caused by gluten. When gluten is ingested or absorbed into the skin, the body reacts by attacking itself. Gluten damages the gastrointestinal system and causes the intestines to not be able to absorb nutrients. This causes problems throughout the body, including dental problems. If you've been recently diagnosed with celiac disease, or think you may have it, here are a few important things to know about gluten and your dental health.
Celiac Disease Damages Teeth
Since your intestine is unable to absorb nutrients, your body probably has not been getting the calcium it needs for strong, healthy teeth and bones. The lack of calcium and other nutrients can cause permanent defects in the enamel of your teeth. Your teeth may be pitted or discolored, and you may have problems with tooth decay. Since your teeth are weak, you may be more likely to break a tooth.
Prevent Further Tooth Damage by Avoiding Gluten
Unfortunately, any damage you already have is permanent. However, you can prevent further damage by avoiding gluten altogether. Of course, your medical doctor and nutritionist have probably already gone over your new dietary regimen. Follow it strictly. Read all labels for everything from your food to your cosmetics, dental care products, medications, and nutritional supplements.
Look for Gluten in Unlikely Places
Gluten is sometimes used as a binding agent, which is why it is often found in the least likely places like pills and lipstick. Gluten is also glue-like, which is why it is used by the plastic industry to process materials to make plastic items. It's a good idea to check with the manufacturers of the plastic containers you use in your kitchen to be sure they do not contain gluten. It's also important to not cross-contaminate your food by putting the food into containers which previously stored food with gluten as an ingredient. When in doubt, toss the plastic containers out and buy new ones.
Even though your food may be gluten-free, the packaging may not be. According to the Department of Agriculture, wheat is used to make biodegradable food containers. For your overall medical and dental health, it's safer to avoid biodegradable containers altogether.
Ask Your Dentist for Gluten-Free Dental Care
Dental care products and dentistry tools your dentist may use might contain gluten. Gluten may be an ingredient in the anesthetic, toothpastes and mouthwashes your dentist uses. The gloves the dentist and dental hygienist uses may have wheat starch. Tell your dentist that you have celiac disease and ask him or her to provide you with gluten-free dental care. Even a small amount of gluten can cause a severe autoimmune response. It's better to be safe than sorry and not take any chances.
Cosmetic Dentistry Options for Celiac Disease
The enamel defects, tooth decay, and broken teeth you may have from celiac may be treated with cosmetic dentistry. A popular type of cosmetic dentistry for people who suffer from celiac is dental veneers. However, if you'd like to hide the flaws, your teeth need to be structurally sound.
If your dentist determines that your teeth are not strong enough for veneers, dental implants may be the best option for you. However, since celiac may have affected your jaw bone, you may need to have bone grafting before undergoing dental implant surgery. Whatever cosmetic dentistry option you choose, remind your dentist that your dental care needs to be gluten-free. If you are interested in cosmetic dental work, but your dentist is not experienced with cosmetic dentistry, then contact one that is at an office like Valley Oak Dental Group Inc.
Important note: Be sure any medication your dentist prescribes is gluten-free, such as an antibiotic and pain medication. Your dentist can write gluten-free on the prescription, but you may want to speak with the pharmacist before he or she fills the prescription.
Living a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging, even when it comes to dental care, but it's better than suffering the ill-effects of celiac disease.