Gluten Sensitivity May Show Up as Tooth Damage, Part II

Cosmetic_DentistIn Part I of this post, the dangers of gluten intolerance for your teeth were discussed. In fact, early diagnosis of gluten sensitivities may first be discovered by your dentist during an oral exam. The National Institutes of Health’s  (NIH) study shows that a dentist can discover what a gastroenterologist may not see until the disease is advanced and has caused discomfort and damage.

The NIH reports that tooth discoloration—spots on the teeth that are brown, yellow, or white, mottled teeth and bands of discoloration, often on the incisors and molars—are permanent.  “A gluten-free diet may not reverse the enamel damage, but it will improve nutrition, absorption and make you feel better,” says Dr. Ford.

It’s easy to misdiagnose the gluten-caused enamel discoloration with the cosmetic effects of too much fluoride on enamel. Another misdiagnosis may be that the mother took tetracycline during pregnancy, causing her child’s tooth discoloration. Parents should be aware that their children’s tooth discoloration may be an early-warning sign of gluten intolerance or the more serious celiac disease. If your child’s dentist mentions enamel weakness or discoloration in your child, it’s smart to ask about gluten problems and follow up with a gastroenterologist.

  • Frequent breakouts of canker sores or ulcers in the mouth
  • A red, smooth, shiny tongue
  • dry mouth
  • cancer of the pharynx and mouth

Enamel damage can be addressed with veneers or crowns, which can restore your smile to a youthful, bright look. Asking your dentist for an oral exam can do more than discover dental problems. If your dentist suspects celiac disease, you’ll be advised to see a gastroenterologist. Your dentist sees you more regularly than a doctor, and can often help you prevent serious disease by spotting and diagnosing a symptom early.

For more (free) gluten intolerance and celiac disease information, visit this NIH page on articles and resources.

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