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  • Writer's pictureJackie Morrill-Faucher

Celiac Disease And Your Mouth

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When most of us hear Celiac Disease (CD) we immediately think about an intolerance to gluten which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease is the body's immune system response to gluten which causes damage to the Villi of the small intestines. This damage disrupts the body's ability to absorb nutrients including; calcium and fluoride which are fundamental in tooth development.

Celiac disease is most commonly diagnosed in females, it can also be diagnosed at any age. It amazes me that 1 out of 100 people worldwide is effected by this disease, but yet so many products on the market still contain gluten. Researchers have found that it is hereditary, so if a parent or grandparent has celiac, there is a strong chance that at least one child will also have a gluten intolerance. In these cases, I would encourage you to have your children tested to help prevent long term damage to their intestines and increased risk of oral decay.

Celiac Disease has a variety of clinical signs that differ between children and adults. Common signs in children include; weight loss, delayed tooth eruption, grooved enamel defect and aphthous ulcers (canker sores).The adult symptoms are a little more intense including abdominal discomfort, chronic diarrhea, bloating, weight loss, joint pain, muscle cramping, seizures, skin rashes,infertility and miscarriage, peripheral neuropathy, osteoporosis, atophic glotitis, xerostomia and aphthous ulcers. Children with CD often have a higher risk of decay, delayed tooth eruption, mandibular jaw defects, enamel impairment, hypocalcification, and burning sensation in the oral cavity.

In general people with CD have a high risk of Xerostomia, which can increase the risk of dental caries; aphthous ulcers; aphthous stomatitis; and atrophic glossitis. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or side effects make sure you discuss them with your dental professional, often there are products we can suggest to make you more comfortable. It is also recommended that you consider having preventative cleanings every 3 to 4 months to prevent increased risk of gum disease and decay. In addition to preventative dental care, we recommend a nutrition plan making sure you get proper nutrients including Calcium & Fluoride, talk to your PCP about going to see a nutritionist. As part of a proper nutrition plan it's important to have a strict Gluten Free (GF) diet as it can help manage symptoms and promote small intestinal healing. There are so many delicious Gluten Free recipes on Pinterest in addition to a variety of Gluten Free products at the store now that following a GF diet is much more attainable than it used to be. The Celiac Disease Foundation website also has a lot of informative information.

Although food is the most common cause of this hereditary autoimmune disease, it's important to know that gluten is a common ingredient in many products; including foods, cosmetics, skin and hair products, toothpaste, mouthrinse and even Play-Doh. If you have celiac disease make sure to always check the ingredients listed on the products you're purchasing.

For those of you who are Celiac or your child are Celiac, here is a link for Celiac patients to review during this time of COVID-19. It has helpful information for those who may have concerns.


  1. Dimensions Of Dental Hygiene, January 2020; Page 26-29:The Oral Impact of Celiac Disease;Jennifer S. Sherry, RDH, MSEd; Danna Cotner,DDS; and Joel Hamilton, RD, LDN



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