Diagnosing coeliac disease via your teeth

Dentist and patient cartoon

This post on the 'Ask Dr Manny' website caught our attention as it was an aspect of coeliac disease we had never heard mentioned:

Dentists do not generally diagnose illnesses of the small intestine, but when it comes to celiac disease, it affects food absorption, so sometimes dentists are the first to suspect it. A common complication of celiac disease is dental enamel defects, including tooth discoloration, poor enamel formation, pitting or banding of teeth and mottled or translucent looking teeth.

A key feature of tooth enamel damage caused by celiac disease is symmetry. If the incisor on the upper right side of your mouth damaged, your upper left incisor will be damaged as well. In severe cases, Celiac disease may cause structural defects changes to the shape of the teeth. Teeth may become more pointed or conical. Studies clearly show that symmetrically and chronologically distributed enamel defects are strongly associated with celiac disease.

In the absence of symptoms and signs of malabsorption dentists, could easily select the right patient possibly suffering from celiac disease for gastroenterological consultations

You should also be aware, if you are coeliac, that many dental products (toothpaste etc) include gluten, so, as always, read the label before you buy.

October 2010


Click here for more articles on the causes of coeliac disease.


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