Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tooth and Mouth signs of Celiac Disease

Gluten-free diets have become a nutrition fad and gluten-free products abound, but for people with celiac disease being gluten-free is a necessity.  Diet is the only treatment for this autoimmune disease and eating even the tiniest amount of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, can cause severe illness.  If left untreated it severely damages the intestines. 

Celiac disease, which seems to be on the rise, affects about 1% of the population and is diagnosed with blood tests and biopsy.  But celiac disease is tricky because the classic symptoms, diarrhea and weight loss, are not present in everyone with the disease leading some physicians to feel it is underdiagnosed.  Some people present with constipation and bloating, others with vitamin deficiencies since the destruction of the intestines leads to poor absorption of nutrients, and some have no symptoms at all.  But there are some other classic signs of the disease and they show up in the mouth.

Children with celiac disease are often found to have poorly formed or missing enamel on the teeth resulting in cavities.  If they are diagnosed before the age of 7 and treated with gluten-free diet, the adult teeth are unaffected.  If not, the disease will also affect the enamel of the permanent teeth.  Over 80% of children with celiac disease have been found to have enamel defects of the teeth.

Adults with untreated or undiagnosed celiac disease also have problems with weak enamel, cavities and bleeding gums.  In addition they may have higher incidence of advanced periodontal disease similar to people with other types of systemic inflammatory diseases like diabetes.  Some people with celiac will develop glossitis, an inflammation of the tongue caused by vitamin deficiency, and about 40% of people with the disease have recurring ulcers of the mouth. 

Because the symptoms of celiac disease, both in the mouth and the rest of the body, are similar to other conditions, a full medical history and further testing is necessary.  But for the person with a family history as well as medical and dental problems similar to celiac, the answer to mysterious symptoms may start in the dental chair.

For more information on celiac disease please visit:   www.celiac.nih.gov/articlearchives.aspx

This blog is not intended to treat or diagnose any dental or medical condition.  Please visit your doctor or dentist if you have any medical or dental concerns.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks Yvonne for covering this topic. I know this is and old post but I felt compelled to leave a comment. Celiac disease may, in addition to the symptoms you mentioned, result in tiredness, lack of enthusiasm in life, heaviness in shoulders. What people in the US don't realize that it's not only the gluten in wheat but it's the use of white flour, which adds to the complexity of celiac disease. Here in the US white wheat flour seems to be the staple. Think how many times did you consume white flour and/or sugar, even if you don't have celiac disease, last week. The best is to compare over a period of time the symptoms of celiac disease with people without celiac disease but consuming the same amount of sugar. What do you think? I would love to hear your comments. You can leave them on https://apakistaniwomansjourney.wordpress.com/ Thank you. Majida

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    1. Hi Majida - thanks for your comments. I'll reply here and then check out your blog as well. It's difficult to separate out sugar from the white flour because both are used together in so many products, but what you propose is very interesting as sugar also causes an inflammatory process in the body. I have become convinced by what I read in research that sugar is also quite toxic to the body in many ways, in addition to contributing to the cavities process in the teeth. Unfortunately between processed foods and sugary beverages, the average American consumes over 40 additional teaspoons of sugar a DAY. I'm sure this contributes to and compounds the health problems that many people experience.

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  2. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. cara menyembuhkan kurap dan panu

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