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Gluten and Your Teeth: Are they Related?

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac is an autoimmune disease that affects 1 to 4 percent of the U.S. population. Not only does celiac disease shorten the lifespan of those affected, it also increases your risk of developing other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Cancer incidence also increases with celiac disease. (living-gluten-free.com)

Approximately 90 percent of all people with celiac disease have tooth enamel defects.

Gluten and the Autoimmune Body

Those with celiac disease can’t digest and process gluten properly–this is called gluten intolerance. When gluten-intolerant people still continue to eat gluten, they experience bone-related issues such as:

  • osteoporosis and osteopenia (porosity of the bones);

  • bone loss throughout the body and in the mouth particularly lower jaw

  • loss or thinning of tooth enamel.

Celiacs also experience abscesses and other root problems, tooth decay and fractured, broken, loose or missing teeth.

Tooth enamel defects in particular, can be used as an indicator to dentists and physicians that a person has celiac disease meaning gluten intolerance can also be identified in children. It is not uncommon for a person to be told of the possibility of them having celiac disease by a dentist following an oral examination. The dentist is often the one to make the first recommendation that a patient see a gastroenterologist.

How does gluten affect the teeth?

When celiacs eat gluten, the body’s immune system reacts against one of the main proteins responsible for production of enamel. This can happen in-utero as well. This lack of enamel or poor quality of enamel can leave a person with celiac disease more prone to cavities, excessive tooth wear and tear, and the eventual premature destruction or loss of teeth.

Because of the effect on tooth enamel, celiacs experience tooth decay and other tooth-related problems far more than non-celiacs even if they have practiced good oral hygiene habits and see a dentist regularly.  

Regular check-ups involve looking for:

  • tooth discoloration such as white, yellow, or brown spots on the teeth

  • poor enamel formation including pitting or banding of teeth, and mottled or translucent-looking teeth.

These imperfections are symmetrical and most commonly affect the incisors and molars. They are common defects in people with celiac disease, although not all tooth enamel defects are caused by celiac disease.

Other Oral Conditions Linked to Gluten-intolerance

Studies have shown that gluten-intolerance and even gluten sensitivity can lead to other oral diseases. These include:

  • Canker sores

  • Geographic tongue (the surface of the tongue looks like a topographical map)

  • Tonsilar stones or exudates (white lumps of puss embedded in the tonsils)

  • Chronic severe redness in the back of the throat (Pharyngeal Erythema)

  • Excessive mucus production so that a person chronically needs to clear their throat

  • Bad breath

  • A small cyst on the frenum (the flap of skin connecting your top lip to your gums)

  • Metallic taste in your mouth

  • Gum disease (periodontal disease).

While research still needs to be done to find out exactly how gluten-intolerance and these oral conditions are connected, celiacs and those with gluten sensitivities need to discuss any tooth enamel issues with us at Choice Dental. It may just be that you’re not aware of any gluten issues until you visit us.

It’s not uncommon for the dentist to be the first line of defense, examination and diagnosis for many conditions. Many people are unaware of how their lifestyle choices, or physiological conditions affect the conditions in their mouth. Since gluten-intolerance and sensitivity can affect other bodily systems, it is important that the possibility of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity be explored to prevent further damage. Studies have shown that once consumption of gluten has stopped, the body can repair itself. Although enamel cannot grow back once lost, bone density and quality of dentin does improve which means better support, healthier teeth and a healthier mouth.

Back to School Dental Tips

School is starting up again. We know parents’ jobs never seem to slow down, so we’ve gathered some tips to help going back to school not get in the away of your kids’ dental hygiene.

 Where to Start

· Just before school starts is a great time to get your child in for their routine dental checkup. There is no need to worry about pulling them out of valuable class time, and it is an easy time to remember. Going back to school is like a routine – buy school supplies, make sure the kids have clothes for school, and make sure you take them to the dentist for their checkup.

· Regular dental checkups are the best form of preventative care when it comes to oral hygiene. Any problems can be caught early on, which means that there are more options for remedying the problem, and that means makes it easier on the wallet.

 Dental Tips

 · Buy a new toothbrush – and let your child pick it out! It is time to retire a toothbrush when the bristles are no longer orderly and are instead sprayed. Picking out a toothbrush can be exciting for kids – there are many different options out there that appeal to children and will have them asking to brush their teeth.

· Re-stock other dental supplies. Make sure you have floss in the house. You can even put a piece of floss in your child’s lunch to encourage them to floss after every meal.

· Speaking of lunch, plan and pack your child a healthy lunch. Make sure to include a high-calcium dairy product like milk or cheese. Strawberries are also good for your child’s lunch or snack as they help whiten teeth. Foods that are high in fiber are also great to eat for lunch (High-fiber foods include spinach or beans).But most importantly, pack water for your kids. Water provides hydration for your child’s body which can help prevent bad breath, as well as wash away some of the acid left behind from other foods and liquids to prevent tooth decay.

· Invest in a timer for tooth brushing. Kids often do not brush their teeth long enough. Their concept of time hasn’t developed all the way and they tend to skimp out on quality brushing time. There are a lot of fun toothbrush timers out there that can help add to the fun of oral hygiene routines.

· Reward your kids. When your kids participate in proper oral hygiene routines, it is worth rewarding. Rewarding a child for good behavior is shown to be more beneficial than punishing children for bad behavior. Turn dental hygiene into something fun!

· A good example is to create a chart where a child can place stickers for each part of their oral hygiene routine they completed that day. A perfect day may be rewarded with something like 15 more minutes at the park the next day, or a dollar in the piggy bank.

· Set an example. The most important role of a parent is to be a role model. When kids see their parents participating in oral hygiene routines, it will help them remember to do the same – and make them want to. Not only will your mouth not be left behind in a busy day of to-dos, but it will show kids that even you do it too.

Water & Oral Health Go Hand in Hand

We all know water is important. Water alone makes up 70 percent of the human body’s weight! We need water to stay hydrated and to survive longer than a week. But did you also know we need water to help prevent things like cavities and tooth decay?

 Oral Health Benefits of Water

 Some benefits of water for your oral health include:

· Water prevents bad breath. Bet you didn’t know that one! When the body becomes dehydrated, bad breath takes over. Dehydration is one of the most common reasons people suffer from bad breath. The lack of saliva causes bacteria to flourish. When bacteria blossoms, so does bad breath.

· Water can help clean your teeth. This dental tool is often overlooked. However, water is one of the most important dental tools out there. It can help prevent damage to your teeth by whisking away leftover food or drink that may be clinging to your teeth. While it doesn’t take the place of quality flossing and consistent brushing, it does help remove the major stuff so that the brushing and flossing can get what is left behind.

· Water can actually strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. Water can help provide healthy conditions for your teeth and gums.

· Fluoridated water is the most tooth-friendly beverage.

Fun Facts about Water

· We already mentioned that water makes up 70 percent of the human body, but also check out these fun facts:

· Between 70 and 75 percent of Earth’s surface is covered with water. (Okay, so that was an easy one)

· Water can dissolve more substances than any other liquid.

· Approximately 80 percent of an infant’s body weight is water.

· Only 3 percent of Earth’s water is fresh water – that means 97 percent is salt water.

· Of the world’s fresh water, 30 percent of it can be found in the ground while 1.7 percent is frozen and therefore unusable to humans.

· Filtered water removes the fluoride from the water – meaning it loses all that extra good for the teeth.

· Water helps energize the muscles in the body.

· Water keeps the skin looking healthy.

· Your body needs water to help maintain proper kidney function

 The Importance of Water

What we are trying to say is, water is important – really important. Addressing your oral health needs starts with addressing your day-to-day habits, which include eating and drinking. We all know that sugary drinks are bad for our teeth, and we will say it again. Sugary drinks like soda and tea are BAD for your teeth! But what we forget to say is what is good for your teeth. Water provides teeth the ability to break down sugary acids that lead to tooth decay. It also prevents bad breath, and the buildup of foods and liquids that get left behind after eating and drinking.

Be sure to take care of your mouth every day with a strong oral hygiene routine. That routine should include brushing and flossing your teeth, and drinking plenty of water!

Welcome to our dental blog.

Thank you for visiting our newly designed website and dental blog.  You may have been redirected here from our old website address at www.asmileforthefuture.com, we hope you enjoy the new look and layout.

The purpose of this dental blog is to help us further pursue the core goals of our team’s mission:

“Our mission is to build a strong, caring, and lasting relationship with our patients and community. This relationship will be founded on friendly service, personalized care, and high quality dental treatment made affordable.”

We hope to build these relationships by not only serving the dental needs of our patients and community, but by also providing them with an easily accessible source of dental information and education.

This dental blog will contain information written by our doctors, covering a wide range of dental procedures and services.  We hope you will find the following information helpful.

Please feel free to comment below if you have questions or suggestions on topics you would like the doctors to discuss.