What your mouth might be telling you about gluten
Gluten may be considered one of the most disliked culinary ingredients at the current time. Along with fats (which are experiencing a dramatic reevaluation) and simple carbs, gluten appears to have fallen out of favor amongst foodies, health junkies, celebrities, trendy dieters, and seemingly everyone in the know. One-fourth of American consumers are now clamoring for gluten-free foods despite the fact that less than one percent have what is known as Celiac Disease. Those with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder, are advised to follow a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet. However, while the prevalence rate of the disease has mostly remained unchanged (or even dropped in more recent times), the number of people adhering to a gluten-free diet has more than tripled. Sales of gluten-free products doubled to $15 billion dollars in 2016 as compared to just five years earlier.
However, while the gluten-free lifestyle continues to surge in popularity, sufferers of Celiac disease for whom consuming gluten is potentially fatal, remain largely overlooked and woefully underdiagnosed. While studies indicate that as much as one percent of North Americans may have the disease, an overwhelming majority remain undiagnosed and are unaware of their condition which can have disastrous ramifications for their dental health.
What is gluten?
Gluten is one of the most heavily consumed macronutrients in the world and has been for the past 10,000 thousand years. Gluten is a protein consisting of bonded glutenin and gliadin pairs. This molecular duo is responsible for giving bread its chewy texture and is an essential ingredient in the fermentation process involving yeast that gives your pizza dough its volume. Gluten is found in wheat products, such as beer, and baked goods. Gluten is also commonly used as a stabilizing agent for popular products such as ice cream and ketchup which may come as a surprise to many.
What is Celiac Disease?
Unfortunately for Celiac sufferers, gluten triggers an abnormal immune response that primarily causes an inflammatory response in the small intestine and wreaks havoc on the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Shortening of the small bowel’s intestinal villi as a result of the immune response prevents the body from absorbing the nutrients, minerals, and the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) that it needs which results in a host of health issues ranging from anemia to osteoporosis.
It can also damage your teeth.
How does Celiac Disease affect my teeth?
Those with Celiac Disease often suffer telltale signs of damage to their teeth and mouth. Dental defects include pitting, grooving, and sometimes outright loss of enamel. Celiac Disease is also known to contribute to the development of ulcers along the inner lining of the mouth. Together with the characteristic enamel destruction, aphthous ulcers are a signal that you may have Celiac Disease.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CELIAC DISEASE?
Tooth enamel erosion
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Brain fog or memory loss
Five grades of dental damage
Enamel defects caused by Celiac Disease are often classified according to the Aine criteria using grades 0 to IV.
- Grade 0: No defect
- Grade 1: Defects in color on enamel.
- Grade 2: Slight structural defects consisting of a rough surface with horizontal grooves or shallow pits; light opacities and color changes may also be found. A part or the entire surface of enamel is without glaze.
- Grade 3: Obvious structural defects with a part of, or the entire surface of enamel rough and filled with deep horizontal grooves, which vary in width or have large vertical pits; large opacities of different colors or linear discoloration may be present in combination.
- Grade 4: Severe structural defects. The shape of the tooth changed. The tips of cusps are sharp-pointed and/or the incisal edges are unevenly thinned and rough. The thinning of the enamel material is readily detectable, and the lesion may be strongly discolored.
While the underlying mechanisms by which Celiac Disease causes damage to the mouth and teeth are not well understood, the solution to preventing further damage is quite simple: remove gluten from your diet. Removing gluten will eliminate the causal agent responsible for causing Celiac Disease in the first place. Those with damaged dentition can seek the services of a cosmetic dentist professional or, better, a prosthodontist, to help repair and restore the look and functionality of their teeth.
Do you suffer from dental distress as a result of gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease? I hope you will contact me today at ArtLab Dentistry and let's see what we can do to help you restore the natural beauty of your teeth. Call us at 818-465-5041 or click the button below to schedule an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you.