Missed Connections: How Celiac Disease Shows On Your Teeth

Celiac disease has more awareness than ever now that more people are turning to gluten free diets. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that can infect anyone from infants to adults. Celiac is a gluten protein intolerance in the small intestine that affects food absorption. What many people don't realize is that dentists can often be the first to detect celiac disease. They are a vital role in early detection. Here are some ways that celiac affects your teeth and what you can do about it.

Signs of celiac on teeth

Since celiac disease restricts the absorption of vitamins and minerals, your teeth won't be as strong as they should be. The lack of vitamins and minerals will keep your teeth from developing and maintaining strong enamel. Enamel damage is a huge indicator of celiac disease. There aren't many studies yet to pin down exactly how many people are affected, which makes it difficult to know the exact number of celiac patients with dental issues. However, studies done on children concluded that nearly 90% of children with diagnosed celiac disease have enamel defects. Only 33% of children who don't have celiac have enamel issues with their teeth. The enamel on teeth of celiac patients is often brittle, spotty, and chipping away. Unfortunately, once enamel is gone, it can't be regenerated.

Enamel isn't the only damage celiac can do on teeth. Severe cases of celiac disease can cause a deformity in the teeth. The shape may become skewed and often pointy. Generally it will even out between the opposite teeth. For example, all four of the incisors might be chipped away and pointy when the rest of the teeth are round. Another symptom of celiac on the teeth is calcium spots. The lack of absorption will cause the teeth to become calcium deficient, and it leaves spots throughout the teeth. Parts of the teeth may even have a translucent appearance.

Other oral signs of celiac

Canker cores are another symptom of celiac that presents in the mouth. While no one is completely sure what causes canker sores (mouth ulcers), they tend to pop on persistently in the mouths of people with gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac and chron's disease.

Atrophic glossitis is another oral issue caused by celiac disease. People with atrophic glossitis lose many or all of the taste buds on their tongue. It leaves the tongue extremely smooth and shiny. The tongue will may also change to a brighter shade of red or pink, swell, and become extremely painful.

What can be done to keep teeth healthy

Having celiac disease doesn't mean you will need dentures before you're 30. However, the health of your teeth is much easier to manage if you catch the problems early. Most dental problems aren't reversible, so early detection is the key. As for the enamel on the teeth, your dentist can provide you with a sealant. A sealant is a liquid plastic that is painted over the surfaces of teeth. The sealant will act as a much-needed barrier. Without proper enamel, your teeth are at high risk for tooth decay.

Ultimately, you need to live on a gluten-free diet with celiac disease. Without the gluten proteins in your gut, your small intestine will properly absorb the nutrients that your body needs. Your teeth will obtain their nutrients with the rest of your body and begin to be strong and healthy.

Many doctors don't realize there is a link between dental problems and celiac disease. The mouth tends to be a forgotten zone for medical doctors. If your dentist if finding similar issues with your or your children's teeth, talk to your doctor about celiac. If you've already been diagnosed with celiac, be sure you receive dental checkups at places like Rose City Dental Care every six months