You have undoubtedly heard about the gluten-free craze, but you probably never thought about the correlation between eating gluten and your oral health. Gluten has a possible link to oral health problems that you should consider. Here is what you need to know to protect your teeth and gums.

How Does Gluten Impact Oral Health?

Gluten has been found to trigger an immune reaction that hurts one of the proteins that helps produce tooth enamel. The enamel provides protection for the teeth against bacteria, sugars, and acids that can destroy them. Without the benefit of the enamel, your oral health can be susceptible to a host of problems including canker sores and gum disease. 

One upside to gluten's link to oral health is that the damage done by it to the teeth and gums can be an early indicator of celiac disease. The disease can impact the small intestine and cause problems such as osteoporosis and an increased risk of developing certain cancers. 

What Can You Do?

The most obvious response to dental problems is to work on eliminating or reducing the amounts of gluten in your diet. The gluten-free craze has resulted in a more foods being available that are free of gluten. Some restaurants even offer menu items that are gluten-free. 

Before eliminating your gluten from your diet, get an assessment from your doctor. This is especially important if you are experiencing gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion are early warning signs of an intestinal disorder. 

If your doctor has identified warning signs of a gluten-related disease, start replacing some or all of your foods that contain gluten with gluten-free items. There are available substitutes for a wide range of items including pasta, cereals, and bread. 

You also need to learn how to read the labels on foods. Pay close attention to the grains that are listed in the ingredients. The higher in rank the grains are, the more there is in the food you are eating. Grains such as wheat, barley, and rye all contain gluten and should be eaten in moderation or avoided altogether.

One thing that works to your advantage is there are a host of foods that are naturally gluten-free. Meat, fruits, and cheese all are gluten-free. You can start building your recipes with those foods as your foundation.

Most importantly, make sure you are getting regular checkups with your dentist. He or she can spot problems early and give you other useful tips for dealing with gluten.