Prescription medications often carry an array of unwanted side effects. For those who suffer with a gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, those side effects might even include abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue, irritability, ADHD, and arthritis. That’s because many prescription medications are coated with gluten, a wheat protein that causes more than 300 undesirable side effects for an estimated 3 million Americans (i). There is another side effect to gluten consumption that is often overlooked, even by those who suffer with allergy or Celiac disease. That side effect is oral decay, and it has the potential to lead to infection, gum disease (periodontitis), and increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
Diet and oral health are connected in a number of interesting ways, and focusing on the former has an increasingly positive effect on the latter. Eating well sets the foundation for creating healthy teeth and gums for life, and oral health is promoted exponentially when daily food consumption is limited to the foods that are most healthy. Today, health professionals are compiling evidence that suggests food items like wheat, barley, and bread are causing serious health issues for a growing number of Americans. The evidence suggests that about 1% of the population has an adverse reaction to gluten, a protein found in most whole grains. This has prompted dental professionals to spread awareness for gluten by encouraging patients to consider how the wheat, barley, and other whole grains in their daily diet may be hurting overall health.
Gluten has become a buzzword in the wellness industry as an increasing number of individuals have begun to experience adverse reactions to products containing wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Such reactions range in severity from mild discomfort in the stomach to long-term malnutrition and even osteoporosis. It is estimated that about 1% of Americans suffer from such reactions to gluten-rich foods, a number that has nearly quadrupled over the past decade. It is critical to understand the threat that gluten sensitivity may pose to overall health, and it is particularly important to understand how ordinary sensitivity is separate and distinct from Celiac Disease. The latter is an autoimmune disorder that affects about 1 in 133 Americans and, when left undiagnosed and untreated, can slowly wreak havoc on the entire body.
Do you feel particularly susceptible to tooth decay? If so, you are not alone. Many Americans continually develop cavities despite feeling as though they eat well, brush thoroughly, and floss twice daily. For these individuals, tooth decay may be a sign that there is a larger underlying problem: Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is a genetic disorder that may inhibit normal absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. Inadequate nutrient absorption may lead to several deficiencies, including weak tooth enamel.
Miami dentists are beginning to see an increasing amount of patients concerned with gluten. The question Is gluten bad for you? has received a lot of attention over the past year as health professionals and researchers continue to study this interestingly complex protein. Holistic dentistry professionals see a link between gluten and tooth decay, a topic that will be covered in next week’s Miami Dentist Blog article. Today, we set aside the questions and research surround gluten to instead focus on something fun: a gluten free bread recipe!