Medical professionals are finding more links between oral health and overall health. Believe it or not, lactose intolerance and dairy allergies can affect your teeth and your dental visits.
What Is Lactose Sensitivity?
The word “sensitivity” means different things to different people. Some people use “allergy” and “sensitivity” interchangeably. Technically, an allergy is an immune system reaction, whereas sensitivities include allergy-like responses that do not involve the immune system. One type of sensitivity is lactose intolerance. This is not an allergy to the sugar in milk products, but rather an inability to digest it.
The Relationship Between Lactose Sensitivity and Oral Health
People who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy naturally reduce their intake of dairy products or eliminate such foods from their diet altogether. While calcium is found in many types of produce and some seafood, not everybody includes enough of these items in their diet to attain sufficient calcium levels. Thus, patients with lactose intolerance are likely to be calcium-deficient.
Calcium deficiency can cause the gums to become irritated and invite infection and inflammation. Left unmanaged, diseased gums can lead to tooth loss. Low calcium levels also contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a loss of bone mass due to insufficient mineralization. Bone loss in the jaws can eventually lead to tooth loss.
If you are lactose intolerant, it is important that you consume non-dairy sources of calcium, such as greens, sardines, soybeans, oranges, dried figs, and fortified processed foods. Lactose-reduced dairy products are tolerated by many. You may also wish to take a calcium supplement. Probiotics and enzymes can improve digestion of lactose.
Aside from good nutrition and supplementation, regular dental visits are even more important if you have lactose sensitivity. Your dentist can closely monitor your oral health and make recommendations as necessary. Thorough cleanings also minimize the chance of gum irritation. So don’t put off those checkups. EDP offers dental plans starting as low as $99, with no waiting period and no deductible. Find a participating dentist today and call 1.800.777.1085 or sign up online for immediate coverage.