Celiac Disease and Oral Health

By Dr. LouAnn Visconti, President of the Ontario Dental Association

Taking care of your teeth can be a challenge for people in the best of health but for those with medical conditions or diseases, having a good dental care routine is essential to preventing further problems from developing.

One issue people with celiac disease can experience is being less able to absorb the minerals and nutrients that are essential for developing bones and teeth. Although the disease can develop at any age, if it occurs in children younger than age 7, when permanent teeth are developing, there can be defects to the dental enamel. The number of teeth affected is also strongly linked to factors that include the age at which a gluten-free diet is started.

Some research suggests children with celiac disease are at a higher risk of getting cavities. This may be related to the inability to fully absorb calcium and other key minerals. Another issue that can affect dental health is recurring canker sores and a dry or burning sensation on the tongue because of difficulties absorbing Vitamin B-12, folate and iron.

One of the best ways to deal with these symptoms is the early diagnosis of celiac disease and the implementation of a gluten-free diet, which has been shown to greatly reduce the severity of some of these dental issues by allowing the body
to absorb essential vitamins and minerals.

Most people wouldn’t realize that the dental office actually has supplies that may contain gluten. This can include dental products such as the paste used to polish teeth after a cleaning, fluoride, topical local anaesthetic, gloves and even orthodontic retainers.

It’s critical for people of all ages with celiac disease to maintain a regular dental care routine and that includes the basics like brushing at least twice a day and flossing on a daily basis. Just keep in mind that dental care products commonly used at home, such as toothpaste, floss and even mouth rinses can also contain gluten and if ingested, could result
in heightened symptoms of celiac disease.

Dental Manifestations of Celiac Disease Reference List

dentist conference kelowna

dentist conference kelownaSeveral Canadian Celiac Association members have been volunteering at the TODS dental conference at the Delta Grand Hotel in Kelowna today (Friday) and this weekend. About 1,500 dentists and dental assistants are registered. Dr. Hardy Limeback is presenting at the conference on Celiac Disease, IBS, Crohn’s & The Role Of The Dental Team.  The CCA has a booth at the conference staffed by CCA volunteers including  Kelowna’s Jennie Johnson and Calgary’s Marie-Claude Beaulieu.

Calgary Chapter PAC Committee and Dr Trey Petty (a dentist in Calgary that specializes in Celiac) have put together this helpful reference list on the oral and dental manifestations of Celiac Disease. It meant as an aid to help all those in the dental care profession. We are publishing it here as a reference for those attending the conference and for those beyond who may benefit from it.

PDF Document (.pdf), Word Document (.docx) – Dental Manifestations of Celiac Disease Reference List
PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx) – Dental Manifestations of Celiac Disease (by Calgary Chapter’s Education Committee, April 2016)