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Dental Health and Latex Allergy

How Is Latex Allergy Diagnosed?

A skin or blood test can diagnose a latex allergy. Skin testing for latex allergy should only be done with the close supervision of an allergy specialist because of the risk of severe reactions.

In addition, a person may be diagnosed with a latex allergy if they have experienced signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction (skin rash, hives, eye tearing or irritation, wheezing, itching, difficulty breathing) when exposed to latex or natural rubber products.

What's the Treatment for a Latex Allergy?

Allergic reactions to latex may be treated by removal of the latex product and drug treatment according to the type of symptoms developing. If the symptoms are irritant contact dermatitis, antihistamine and/or corticosteroid drugs may be enough to treat symptoms. Severe reactions should be treated with epinephrine, intravenous fluids, and other support by hospital or emergency personnel.

If you have a latex allergy, it is important for you to wear a medical alert bracelet and carry an emergency epinephrine syringe. Epinephrine is the treatment used for severe allergic reactions.

There is no cure for latex allergy, so the best treatment for this condition is prevention. Besides the foods already mentioned in this document, there are other foods that might trigger a latex-like allergic reaction in people with latex allergy. If you suffer from latex allergy, avoid these foods:

  • Peaches, plums, and nectarines
  • Grapes, strawberries, and cherries
  • Wheat and rye
  • Potatoes
  • Melons
  • Papayas
  • Hazelnut
  • Pineapple
  • Celery
  • Figs

Note: Not all people who have these food allergies will also have latex allergies.

What Precautions Should I Take Before Visiting My Dentist?

If you have a known latex allergy, call your dentist's office at least 24 hours before your scheduled appointment. Your dentist and his or her staff should have a latex-free protocol that they follow for patients with latex allergies. They will also make a note of your allergy in your medical record.

Can I Develop a Latex Allergy From Exposure at the Dentist?

You could develop a latex sensitivity to the gloves. This is different from a latex allergy. With a latex sensitivity, you'd develop a swelling or a rash in the area where the gloves touched you. This would be an irritant contact dermatitis. A true allergic reaction is more serious, is less common, and would cause symptoms including shortness of breath, wheezing, full-body rash, and swelling.


 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Elverne M Tonn, DDS on May 08, 2012

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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