You already know that what you eat can affect the health of your teeth and gums. But when it comes to gluten, in particular, is there anything that you should worry about? Should you be eliminating gluten from your diet for the sake of your teeth, even if you aren’t sensitive to it or you haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease? We’ve got the answer to this important question below.
Gluten: A Threat to More Than Just Your Gut
When most people think of gluten and its effects on the body, they tend to focus on the digestive tract, but researchers have found that gluten sensitivity might also have an effect on the mouth. Who knew?!
- According to a study that was published by the European Journal of Internal Medicine, around 85% of individuals suffering with celiac disease have tooth abnormalities or damaged enamel. Other research has found that kids who have celiac disease also tend to have greater amounts of bacteria and plaque that might contribute to gum disease and tooth decay, and the disease could affect their primary teeth and their permanent teeth.
- Those who have an intolerance to gluten may end up having to deal with a variety of oral health problems if they don’t cut out (or at least reduce) foods that contain gluten, such as wheat and grains. Oral problems could include those that affect tooth enamel because gluten may disrupt your body’s ability to effectively absorb or produce certain minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin D and vitamin K, which are necessary for strong teeth and healthy gums.
- In addition to damaged or rough enamel, other symptoms could develop as a result of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. These include: inflammatory gum disease, canker sores, tooth discoloration in the form of brown or yellow spots, and bad breath. There might also be structural defects like large pits or deep horizontal grooves.
- What’s also interesting is that celiac disease may cause defects that will often affect the first molars and incisors, and the damage will appear in a sequential or symmetrical form, rather than in an asymmetrical or random pattern.
Test Things Out by Ditching Gluten
If you already think that you might be sensitive to gluten because you are experiencing some symptoms, but you aren’t entirely sure, you can always experiment with cutting it out of your diet and seeing if your health, including your oral health, improves.
If you have already been diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac disease and you have not yet eliminated all gluten from your diet, you may find that your symptoms improve once you do, so it is worth taking that extra step.
Whether or not you are sensitive to gluten, reducing the gluten in your daily diet might be beneficial to the health of your teeth and gums. In fact, for some people, dental problems may be the first sign that they are gluten intolerant, so going on a test diet might be really insightful.
Keep Seeing Your Dentist to Keep Your Teeth Strong!
On top of watching what you eat, seeing your dentist at least twice a year—especially if you have gluten sensitivity—could help you stay on track when it comes to maintaining your smile. A combination of checkups and cleanings will help remove debris from the gums and teeth, and your dentist can keep a close eye on the strength of your enamel as well.
It’s amazing how diet can affect so many different aspects of your health. If you think that you might be sensitive to gluten, it’s best to talk to your doctor so you will know what extra steps you’ll need to take to protect those pearly whites.