Do you have a gluten free dentist?
Though we often talk about food, we rarely talk about our teeth. The dentist chair can be a real sore spot for some, especially when you worry about everything that ends up in your mouth.
It was bad enough to deal with the discomfort of someone working on your teeth, but now you’ve got the added stress of someone sticking their hands that could have come in contact with gluten on, in and over your mouth.
How to Have the Gluten Free Dentist Chat
The key here is to open a line of communication with your dentist office long before you sit in the chair for an appointment. Don’t wait until the polish is on the toothbrush to mention you’ve got Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity. And if you’re really keen on using more natural products, many dentists will be open to letting you bring in what will work best for you and your teeth.
As you read through this article, you may wonder what products are better to use. As I’ve stated before, I’m not big on giving out lists of brands and products for fear that at any moment in the future, their products would stop being gluten-free (unbeknownst to me) rendering my list out-of-date and making my suggestions dangerous for you. There are certain companies like Tom’s of Maine, Colgate and JASON who state that they have gluten-free products, but I’d suggest that you carefully review (and potentially call the company) before making your final purchase.
It was also my intention to share the truth about two different things that have a gluten status about which you might be surprised.
1. Dental Gloves
To set the record straight, powdered medical gloves used in dental offices don’t contain gluten. It was a rampant myth that circulated the web for a long time so earlier this year I called companies that manufacture these products. They confirmed that because of all the issues with wheat and especially since it’s one of the top 8 allergens that must be listed on food products, cornstarch is used to powder gloves.
That’s good news for those avoiding gluten, but not so hot for those running from corn. Even though the powder is on the inside of the glove, everything in the box is contaminated on the outside as well. I’d suggest requesting powder-less gloves (which your dentist should have) to calm your mind.
2. Tooth paste
If you or your dentist is unsure whether their special toothpaste (which tends to be a bit more abrasive than the typical stuff we all use at home) contains gluten, bring your own tube along. My own dentist is completely supportive of doing what’s best for you personal health and if that means using a toothpaste that I know is gluten-free, then he’s onboard.
At some point, you’ll be asked to rinse your mouth out with a mixture of mouthwash and water. It seems that the most common type of mouthwash used is probably Listerine.
I called them on 11/11/13 and was assured that all Listerine mouthwash products are not made with any ingredients derived from gluten, however they do not test them to ensure they are gluten-free. If you are uncomfortable with that answer (which I don’t blame you for, if you are), bring your own or ask to just use water. Either way, inquire about what product they use before your next appointment and make your decision from there.
I never thought that floss could gluten me, but then I heard a story from a woman who figured out through a process of elimination that her favorite floss was actually making her sick. Remember, many flosses are coated and could come in contact with other products that do contain gluten. Unless you know what brand your dentist uses, carrying a small container with you is a good idea.
You remember retainers if you had braces as a kid, or perhaps your children now are headed in that direction. The problem is the plastic used could have gluten added to it and it can definitely cause reactions.
Thanks to Gluten Dude who highlighted this study from 2013 — a girl with celiac was experiencing symptoms until it was determined that her retainer had gluten added to the plastic. Once she stopped using it, she was fine. Here’s the study if you want to take a look for yourself.
Gluten Free Dentists are popping up more often and even regular dentists are becoming more aware of issues like Celiac Disease so there is less risk now than there was in the past. My dentist office said the biggest allergy they faced until recently was latex, so they stopped purchasing latex gloves.
A great resource (though a few years old) on gluten-free dental products is from the Vegan Gluten-Free Mom. However as I stated above, do not just assume that the list shared on her website is accurate. Formulations change and a company isn’t required to shout it from the rooftops that they now include gluten.
The lesson here is that you’ve got to ask about everything. Plastics could have gluten and powdered objects might not. Don’t be afraid to say something because silence will never support your ability to take care of yourself. And the more time you give yourself between now and your next appointment could mean all the difference in getting your teeth cleaned without having a nervous breakdown.