When you think about eliminating gluten, you probably think of what foods and drinks are safe to eat. But gluten free isn’t just a diet, it’s a lifestyle. And that means that you have to consider all of the different places that gluten can sneak in. One of the most common ways to be exposed to gluten outside of food is personal care products, like toothpaste.
Toothpaste is an essential part of our daily oral hygiene routine. It helps to clean our teeth, freshen our breath, and prevent cavities. So for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, it is important to know if toothpaste is gluten free or not.
Toothpaste can indeed contain gluten, and ingredients in certain toothpastes can also contribute to other gastrointestinal inflammation. This article will discuss the following:
- What ingredients in toothpaste might contain gluten?
- What ingredients in toothpaste might contain ingredients that perpetuate gastrointestinal inflammation?
- What toothpaste options are gluten free?
Is Toothpaste Gluten Free?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, oats, and rye.
Gluten is often used as a thickener in many food products, medicines, cosmetics, and skin care. It is also often used as a binding agent in many foods and personal care products, including toothpaste. If swallowed, gluten-containing toothpaste could trigger an immune response.
Gluten is commonly found in toothpaste in the form of hydrolyzed wheat protein, which is used to thicken the toothpaste. Other common names of hidden gluten found in toothpaste include:
- triticum vulgare – this is the name for a species of wheat
- avena sativa – this is the name for the cereal grain commonly known as oats
- natural flavors – these may be malt derived, which means they are made from barley.
A comprehensive list of names and terms that could indicate gluten in your toothpaste can be found here.
So, what does this mean for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities? It means that it is important to check the toothpaste you are using and make sure that it is gluten free!
Beware Of Toothpaste Ingredients That May Perpetuate GI Inflammation
Many toothpastes brands use additives, thickeners, gums, artificial sweeteners, and fluoride. These extra ingredients may not contain gluten, but they have been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation. Therefore, they could exacerbate symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. Those who are trying to heal from damage from gluten exposure may benefit from avoiding these ingredients. Here are a few ingredients to watch out for:
- Gums: For example, many gums can be inflammatory. Gums are commonly used food additives that are used to increase the “stickiness” that gluten typically gives to foods. They can be used as thickening agents as well, and are common ingredients in processed foods like, mayo, salad dressings, yogurt, milks, soups, ice cream, and sauces. These gums are also found in non edible items like toothpaste and lotions. In small amounts, they might not be a big problem, but when you gravitate toward a diet where gums are present in the bulk of what you are eating, they can become disruptive to the gut. Commonly used gums in toothpaste include xanthan gum and carrageenan gum.
- Triclosan: Triclosan has been shown to disrupt gut bacteria and cause gut inflammation.
- Artificial sweeteners: We know that many artificial sweeteners are not desirable for a number of reasons, and that includes how they may impact gut health. Research shows a link to gut dysbiosis and an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Fluoride: Human and animal studies show an increased risk for inflammation in those with higher levels of fluoride. Fluoride is also known as an endocrine disruptor which can impact everything from fertility to thyroid health.
It’s important to know that the relationship between oral health and gut health works both ways. In addition to ingredients in toothpaste that contribute to gastrointestinal inflammation, gluten can also cause gum inflammation and cavities. While many people think about gastrointestinal symptoms related to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, the truth is that gluten reactions can show up throughout the entire body, including the mouth. Common gluten related oral problems include increased cavities, and increased gum inflammation. This article discusses the several different ways that gluten exposure can manifest as oral health issues in more detail.
Gluten Free Toothpaste Options
When shopping for toothpaste, it is important to read the label carefully and look for brands that are labeled as gluten-free
You can also look for brands that do not list any gluten-containing ingredients. However, if it isn’t labeled gluten free, don’t be afraid to reach out to the manufacturer and ask. Most companies are happy to answer any questions you may have about their products. If a company isn’t willing to be transparent about ingredients, it may be an indication of their overall quality and trustworthiness.
Toothpaste And Cross Contamination
In addition to checking the label, it is also important to be aware of the possibility of cross-contamination. Some research has identified gluten contamination of toothpaste.
This is because some toothpaste manufacturers may use the same production line to make both gluten-free and gluten-containing toothpaste. This can result in small amounts of gluten ending up in the gluten-free toothpaste.
To minimize the risk of cross-contamination, look for toothpaste brands that have dedicated facilities or production lines for their gluten-free products.
Gluten Free Toothpaste Brands
Thankfully, once you know what you are looking for, you can find a gluten free toothpaste. Here are a few of our favorites:
As with foods and drinks, it is important for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities to be vigilant about the products they use, including toothpaste. By taking the time to read labels, ask questions, you can maintain your health and avoid any adverse effects from gluten.
In addition to gluten, it is important to know that toothpaste can contain other ingredients that are inflammatory to the gut that can act as a barrier to fully healing.