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Food Allergies and Dental Care
Fifteen million Americans suffer from food allergies and that number is on the rise. People with food allergies are accustomed to using caution while eating and drinking. For them, checking labels and asking questions at restaurants is a necessary and potentially life-saving habit. That’s because those with allergies are aware what can happen if they miss an ingredient that will trigger a reaction. Unfortunately, while they may be cautious in terms of what they eat, many food allergy sufferers may not think dental products contain allergens. Dental products found at home and at one’s dentist, can affect one’s food allergies. Before going to the dentist or switching dental care products, or even chewing a new brand of gum, one should better understand what dental products they may have a sensitivity to and why.
A food allergy is a potentially life-threatening immune response to a food-based allergen. While the allergic response can be lethal, symptoms are unpredictable and can range from mild to moderate and may include itching, rashes, severe anaphylactic shock, and loss of consciousness. The only way to avoid these allergic responses is to avoid the food, as there is no cure. This is why allergic reactions to dental products can take people by surprise.
Food Allergens and Dental Products
Certain dental products contain food ingredients that can potentially trigger allergic reactions. These ingredients include some of the most common food allergens such as peanuts, pine nuts, egg protein, and milk or milk protein. Other ingredients found in dental products that commonly cause reactions include Recaldent, a substance that strengthens teeth. Other products to be cautious of include fluoride, toothpaste, polishing paste, dental cements, and gum. Not all of these products contain these ingredients; therefore, people should read ingredients of different brands and talk with their dentist about their food allergies and any products that may contain ingredients of concern.
Dental Care Providers
Dentists and providers of oral care should also do their part in ensuring their patients are safe. Ideally, they should take precautionary measures as a part of the patient experience. This means asking patients if they have any food allergies and including the information as a part of their patient record. Dentists should also inquire if patients with allergies carry an Epi-Pen in the event of a reaction. Oral care providers should be aware of which ingredients are in the products that they regularly use and the products that they recommend.
- Food Allergies and Food Intolerance: People who are interested in learning about food allergies will find helpful information on this WebMD page. Additional information on this page includes about how they work, what the most common food allergies are, and Diagnosing food allergies.
- What is a Food Allergy: Food allergies are something that everyone should be aware of, even if they personally are not allergic. This article explains what they are and what causes them in detail.
- Sugar and Spice and Everything Not So Nice: Spice allergies can be a problem when it comes to cosmetics and dental products. This article on the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology discusses how spice allergies might affect individuals who use these products.
- Pine Nuts and Fluoride Dental Treatment: Parents or adults with pine nut allergies will want to read this Q & A on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website about pine nuts in fluoride varnish and safety concerns.
- Food Allergies: This Family Doctor article outlines food allergies including causes, symptoms, and treatment.
- Have Food Allergies – Read the Label: When people suffer from allergies, it’s important that they read the label before buying food, dental, or cosmetic products. This FDA article outlines the importance of reading labels.
- Food Allergies – Understanding Food Labels: The Mayo Clinic offers this article on how to understand food labels.
- Understanding Food Allergies- How to Prevent Peanut Allergy and More: Peanut allergies are a common problem for adults and children. This news article helps readers better understand peanut allergies and how to prevent them if possible
- Anaphylaxis – Severe Allergic Reactions: Anaphylaxis is a serious concern for people with food allergies. Kids With Food Allergies offers information for families on this topic.
- Food Allergy Awareness: This page on the Maryland Department of Health website provides statistics about food allergies.
- Special Food Issues: Food Allergies: Visit this Girl’s Health page for information on how to live with various allergies and signs to look for.
- Food Allergy and Intolerance (PDF): Is it food allergies or intolerance? This guide can help you figure out the answer.