With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

02 February 2018

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: Food Allergies at the Dentist

By Jonas Bergsten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Content on www.foodallergybuzz.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

If you are managing food allergies or your child has food allergies, it is wise to notify the dentist of the food allergies. Ingredients should be checked for anything that is going in the mouth during a dental visit. Fortunately, in terms of food allergies, there is not much to check on aside from fluoride, toothpaste and polishing paste. There are, of course, other allergies one needs to keep in mind when visiting the dentist such as latex allergies or a nickel allergy.

A cursory search in Google Scholar shows that most reactions to dental materials tend to be to the metals in dental materials. No articles about food allergens and dental materials jump out. There are, however, a few dental products, which may contain food or food additives. A 2012 blog post on rdh.com (Registered Dental Hygienist) entitled Food Allergy Awareness lists several substances used by dentists which may contain food or food products. The author, Michele A. Fagan, EFDA, RDH, BS provides the following list:

  • "Recaldent is a milk derivative (may be listed as casein) - found in GC America's MI paste, toothpastes, and some forms of Trident gum.
  •  Polishing paste - contains gluten (causes gastrointestinal disorder)
  • Fluorides - can contain gluten or nut oils
  • Topical anesthesia - contains fruit flavorings
  • Propofol - general anesthesia that contains egg protein
  • Cements - eugenol is derived from oil of cloves
  • Nitrous oxide - does not specifically contain egg, but it has a substance that is molecularly structured like eggs and reactions have been reported" 
**A reader with a science background pointed out the above quote has some inaccurate info. Propofol does not contain egg protein. Rather it contains egg phospholipds and therefore should not cause allergic reactions. A cursory check of scholarly articles on Propofol and egg, however, indicate there are a few records--not many--of reactions by individuals with egg allergy to Propfol despite the absence of egg protein in the medicine. See N.J.N. Harper's article entitle "Propofol and Food Allergy" in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, Volume 116, Issue 1, 1 January 2016, pp. 11-13 (Published Decmber 16 2015) for additional information:  https://academic.oup.com/bja/article/116/1/11/2566111  **

Please note: the list quoted above is not an exhaustive list nor is it intended to cause alarm. In addition, the list is from only one source; there may be other, more accurate or complete lists available. It's always prudent to do your due diligence and research for information. Dentist visits are a topic that pops up periodically in food allergy discussion groups. Keep in mind, the great majority of individuals with food allergies go to the dentist without incident, just like everyone else, but it's always a good idea to inquire. With the rising number of people with food allergies, your dentist probably has already provided the same ingredient info to other patients and has likely vetted the products he or she uses, with allergies in mind.

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