Did you know that food allergies can be affected by dental products that are used when you visit your oral health provider, or simply by chewing the wrong sugar-free gum? After reading this blog, you and your family will be better informed and prepared about food allergens in dental products before your next dental visit.
If you have a food allergy, it’s caused by something called an allergen; something in a food or food product (like an ingredient) that can cause a physical reaction, and/or make you sick. Food allergens can cause minimal (intolerance) to severe physical reactions, such as a rash or hives, itching or swelling, vomiting and gastrointestinal distress, to swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat, difficulty in breathing or even anaphylactic shock which left without immediate attention, could lead to death.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (AAAAI) https://www.aaaai.org, there are approximately 15 million+ people who suffer from food allergies, and that number has risen over the past 10 years. Many of these allergies can be fatal. The top eight major allergens are: milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts (walnut, pecans, almonds, cashews, and pistachios), shellfish, and fish.
Believe it or not, some very common dental products contain food allergen ingredients that may trigger reactions in patients. Ingredients can be item or brand specific, so it’s important to ALWAYS inform your oral care provider’s office when making your appointment, and also discuss any and all food allergies you have with your dentist or hygienist before beginning your dental cleaning or treatment.
The CDC, AAAAI and Food Allergy Canada (https://foodallergycanada.ca have placed these dental products on their watch lists:
• Fluoride (brand specific): Peanut; pine nut; dairy
• Toothpastes: Gluten, milk protein, corn, Recaldent (ingredient to make teeth stronger, found in toothpastes and Trident gum)
• Dental cements (used for temporary crowns): Eugenol - from refined clove oil
• Topical anesthetic gel: Fruit flavoring
• Polishing paste: Gluten, pine nuts, nut oils, milk protein
• Propofol: Egg protein - used for general anesthesia procedures
• Diprivan: Anesthetic
• Trident Gum: Milk protein, Recaldent
According to Registered Dental Health Magazine, http://www.rdhmag.com, oral health care providers should ask themselves:
1. Do I know to ask my patients about their food allergies?
2. Is my patient wearing an identification bracelet describing their allergy?
3. Do I know what is in the products I use or recommend to my patients?
4. Do I ask my allergic patients if they carry a self-injectable epinephrine device (Epi-Pen, Epi-Pen Jr., and Twinjet)? Do I know how to administer it?
Food allergies can occur at any age, from childhood to adult onset. Informed is forewarned!