By Jenifer Dorsey
The concept of gluten-free dentistry might inspire eye rolls or groans, but it’s not a gimmick catering to dietary trends. It’s a legitimate offering and big relief for those who have celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Such individuals must refrain from consuming foods, medications and other items containing gluten and even using certain beauty products, depending on the severity of their condition. Reactions to gluten can occur with exposure to trace amounts and also topical exposure. Going in for a routine dental exam and cleaning can mean feeling ill for days.
Fortunately, more dentists, such as Jeffrey Patrician of Boulder Dental Arts, who was recently featured in a Boulder Daily Camera article, are acquiring gluten-free dental products and using them on all patients. According to boulderdentalarts.com, his practice uses 100 percent gluten-free toothpastes, mouthwashes, pastes, gels and topicals. Others in his community have followed suit.
But what do you do if gluten-free dentistry isn’t a widespread or publicized concept where you live? The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness recommends calling a few weeks ahead of your dental appointment to explain your condition and make the clinic aware that you cannot be exposed to products with gluten in them. If they cannot accommodate you, call another dentist.
As for toothpaste, mouthwash and other products used for daily dental hygiene, read labels, visit manufacturer websites or contact manufacturers to ask. Click here for a NFCA list, though not comprehensive, of ingredients that indicate gluten is present. Great River Dentistry in Bemidji, Minn., has done some of the work for consumers and offers a list of gluten-free dental products on its website, greatriverdentistry.com.
Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health insurance, health and wellness, fitness and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking and other outdoor adventures. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.