Did you know that your regular toothpaste contains gluten? If not, this article will be an eye-opener for you.
Gluten is a sticky mixture of proteins which is commonly found in cereal grains. Toothpaste often contains gluten in the form of a binder, thickener, and stabilizer.
Gluten is an uneasily digestible substance which can irritate the digestive tract and cause gluten allergies. One of the conventional counterparts of gluten is celiac disease.
While most people can digest gluten, those who are gluten intolerant must stop using any product that contains gluten as a component.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of gluten-free toothpaste in the market today. These toothpaste use organic components like arrowroot powder to provide a safe oral care experience especially for the children with gluten allergies.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into the article quickly to look at the importance of using a gluten-free toothpaste and how you can identify this product in the market.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a group of proteins called prolamins and glutelins which are usually found in cereal grains like wheat, barley, oats, and rye. It is gluten that gives the wheat dough its characteristic elastic texture. (1)
Moreover, gluten is a critical component in products derived from these grains such as bread and malts.
Often, a mixture of these proteins causes illness to people who have gluten intolerance. The effects of gluten intolerance can range from a mild sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease.
Why is gluten used in toothpaste?
Gluten is usually used in regular toothpaste for three main reasons –
- As a binder – the sticky nature of gluten helps to bind all the ingredients together and form a paste-like consistency
- As a thickening agent
- As a stabilizer
What is gluten intolerance?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder which prevents the body to accept specific nutrient proteins like gluten. Ingestion of even a small amount of gluten can trigger an immune response and cause damage to the intestinal linings. (2)
Some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance may include –
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Distended stomach
- Loose stools
What is the importance of gluten-free toothpaste?
Gluten-free toothpaste is a ray of sunshine for gluten intolerant people, providing them a beautiful, bright smile.
Removal of gluten ensures zero interference of the toothpaste with the digestive tract. The cleansing action of gluten-free toothpaste remains as efficient as regular toothpaste. (3)
The active ingredients in gluten-free toothpaste stay the same. However, the binder and thickening agent is replaced by organic components like arrowroot powder or cellulose gum. Some of the key ingredients include –
- Xylitol – helps to prevent cavities and increases the flow of saliva, benefitting those who suffer from dry mouth
- Baking soda – neutralizes bacterial acids in the mouth and helps to remove stains from the tooth surface
- Calcium phosphate – acts as a gentle abrasive to remineralize certain areas of the tooth. It also helps with plaque control
- Other components include – water, sorbitol, cellulose gum, and natural flavoring agents
How to check if toothpaste is gluten free?
Other than looking for the brand name, there are specific things that you should look for in the ingredient list of a gluten-free toothpaste.
The first and the most reliable indicator of a gluten-free toothpaste is the presence of cellulose gum. Cellulose gum is a replacement of gluten which acts as a binder, thickener, and stabilizer.
Presence of cellulose gum ensures that the toothpaste is free from gluten based binding components.
Another ingredient to look for is sorbitol. Usually, Xanthum gum is a gluten based sorbitol which may prove to be harmful to the digestive tract. Look for a toothpaste that contains gluten-free sorbitol.
Most of the brands have the ingredients listed on their website. You can also contact the customer care support to ask them about any product.
Where can you find gluten-free toothpaste?
The dental community has done great work by spreading awareness about the importance of gluten-free products. Today, you can find a range of gluten-free toothpaste in a market shelf right next to the stack of regular toothpaste.
Many gluten-free toothpastes can be purchased directly online. You can also take guidance from your dentist to choose the best gluten-free toothpaste suitable for your need and ask them to locate a store nearby.
There are standard brands that provide quality dental products. Here is a list of the trusted brands that you can pick from while buying a gluten-free toothpaste –
- Crest toothpaste – This company states that all its dental products are gluten-free except the mouthwash. So keep that in mind while shopping for dental products.
- Colgate toothpaste – Colgate PriviDent and Ultrabrite are the two gluten-free kinds of toothpaste. Among the mouthwashes and rinse, Colgate optic white mouthwash, Colgate total mouthwash, Perioguard rinse, and Phosflur are some of the options that you can go for.
- Sensodyne toothpaste – The Pronamel line of this toothpaste is gluten free. However, the company states that all other products under this brand are gluten free as well.
- Oral B Stages Kids Toothpaste – The favorite Oral B character themed toothpaste range for kids are stated to be gluten-free.
- Other brands of gluten-free toothpaste are Tom’s of Maine, aqua fresh, Biotene, arm and hammer, and oral essentials toothpaste.
The cost of gluten-free toothpaste varies with the brand, but on an average, it may range from $8 – $40.
Take away message
Gluten intolerance has become a common health condition. One of the reasons for gluten sensitivity is a history of celiac disease. (4)
Around 3 million Americans or roughly 1% of the population, is affected by this autoimmune disease. People with celiac disease develop gluten sensitivity and cannot digest even the slightest amount of gluten.
In such cases, gluten-free toothpaste is a sign of relief. Gluten-free toothpaste provides optimal oral healthcare to people sensitive to gluten and puts a familiar smile on their face.
Now that you’ve read the article, you must have got an idea of how to check a dental product if its gluten and free and which brands to follow.
So go ahead and buy the best oral health care product for your precious smile.