I am hoping this post will help someone else on their gluten journey. I am Celiac and maintain a very, very strict gluten free diet. I never cheat on gluten, I check every ingredient, pill and cosmetic that will come near me. Our entire home is 100% gluten free and my dog is even gluten free so there is no risk of cross contamination at home. I barely eat out and if I do it's at a select few restaurants that I know are safe or 100% Gluten Free.
A strange thing happened to me when I went gluten free. For starters, I never felt better. I never felt that rush of energy or clear head I was supposed to get. I honestly always felt slight glutened and did not understand why. Why should I cut gluten out if I feel the same or worse than I did before I cut gluten out?
For 2 years my antibodies would not go down, in fact they actually doubled from when I used to eat gluten daily! Multiple doctors had no idea what was going on or why the numbers would double more than when I ate it daily. We would check my antibodies every 3 months and they would hover at the same elevated number. Nothing would let them budge.
One morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed while I was waking up. I read an article about a child that had the same issue as me and they finally figured out that it was their orthodontic retainer! Apparently, the retainer had an ingredient called plasticized methacrylate polymer, which is made from gluten, Gluten is apparently a common additive in plastics! I had an epiphany that morning!
I wore a mouthguard every night for teeth grinding and I had gotten it right after I went GF. My dentist had told me it was GF and I trusted her at the time. After reading this article I contacted her and got ahold of the manufacturer and sure enough the mouthguard I had used the same polymer that was listed in the article as being a gluten ingredient!!
I was horrified and relieved at the same time. On one hand, I was so mad that my dentist was somewhat responsible for giving me an item with gluten. I wore that mouthguard every single night for 2 years for at least 8 hours. It was on my lower teeth so it was going right into my blood stream sublingually. I was getting glutened every night for 2 years without even knowing it!
On the other hand I was relieved that I most likely had solved the mystery of what was glutening me! Well, we checked my antibodies again 3 months after not wearing it and guess what, my antibodies dropped 50% in 3 months and I started feeling so much better! That was the only change I made in that time that could have affected my gluten antibodies and I was so glad I finally got the answer! The mouthguard was the culprit!
The brand mouthguard I had was NTI by Keller Labs. If you are Celiac or sensitive to gluten definitely don’t use theirs.
Check out the original article I read that prompted me to check on my mouthguard
So some important take aways from this experience:
1. Make sure you go to a dentist that is GF and understands GF. The same dentist that gave me the mouthguard knew I was Celiac and would use sand/pumice to polish my teeth. It basically felt like you went to the beach and opened your mouth in the sand. It really kinda sucked. I have since switched dentists to one that is 100% GF and she really understands what GF and Celiac Disease is. It takes a bit of work to find a GF dentist but it can be done and will make visits to the dentist less stressful and less sandy.
2. If your Gluten Antibodies are not going down, look at non-food sources as the cause, such as orthodontics, mouthguards, lipstick, lotions, cosmetics etc. I am so OCD strict about gluten and all my body products and cosmetics are gluten free, but it did not even cross my mind to think it was my mouthguard for 2 years!
3. Be your own detective. If I had just sat around wondering like all my doctors, I would have never solved what was causing my high antibodies. Doctors had no answers and wanted just to wait for my antibodies to go down, which would have never happened as long as I wore the mouthguard.
4. Some of the mouthguard brands I have found to be gluten free are:
Kolorz / Glidewell Labs ( I have used this brand with no problems since)
John’s Dental Lab