How Celiac Disease Can Affect Your Oral Health

 Celiac disease, which is related to an autoimmune response to foods containing gluten, can impact people at any age, toddlerhood to post-retirement years. The condition is often thought to only impact the intestinal tract, but it can also cause symptoms such as chronic fatigue and a painful, itchy skin rash. It even impacts oral health.

If you have or think you may have celiac disease, it is especially important for you to take exceptionally good care of your oral health. Here are a few of the ways that the disease impacts your teeth and gums, and some suggestions for dealing with your condition successfully.

Celiac Disease: Impacts On Your Oral Health

  1. Damage to dental enamel. Those who develop celiac disease may also develop yellow or brown spots on their teeth, or pitting and horizontal banding on the enamel layer. This damage is usually permanent. However, dental restorations such as veneers and crowns can provide protection to your natural teeth.
  2. Increased chance of cavities. Weakened tooth enamel makes your teeth more vulnerable to cavities. Following a strict no-gluten diet (with no cheating!) can help improve your general health, as well as your oral health. You can also reduce the damage from cavities by getting dental cleanings on a regular schedule recommended by your dentist.
  3. Increased likelihood of dry mouth. Celiac disease is linked to another autoimmune condition, Sjögren’s syndrome, which can contribute to a reduced saliva flow in your mouth. This can increase your chances of cavities as well as gum disease. If you have celiac disease, discuss this possibility with your dentist. They can prescribe medicines to increase your saliva flow and look for signs of oral health damage related to dry mouth.
  4. Frequent canker sores. People who have celiac disease are more prone to develop canker sores on their lips, gums, and tongue. If left untreated these sores can be painful and make eating or speaking difficult. Your dentist can suggest over-the-counter remedies to ease your pain. For advanced cases of these mouth ulcers or extremely painful sores, they may also prescribe an antibiotic mouthwash.

The best way to minimize celiac disease’s impact on your oral health is to follow a no-gluten diet, keep your dentist informed of oral-heazlthyour condition, and make sure you use gluten-free dental products on a daily basis as part of your oral self-care regimen.

“Our practice works frequently with patients who have celiac disease, and we are happy to discuss how to protect your oral health,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix and the founder of Dr. Carol Ford & Associates.

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