Did you know people with gluten intolerance often have dental enamel defects? This is especially true for children. Studies are beginning to show a high correlation between Celiac disease and dental defects. A lot of dentists don’t even know this yet, but the correlation makes sense if you understand what the gluten intolerance is doing to your body.
Gluten intolerance causes malabsorption of critical nutrients. These nutrients affect the muscular-skeletal system, and teeth are part of it. Usually there are other early symptoms in a child too, like short stature and digestive problems. But an unusually high incidence of enamel problems can be indicative of Celiac disease. It’s still not certain though whether it’s an immune response or lack of nutrients that directly causes the enamel erosion.
Some doctors have started using dental records to determine if a biopsy should be done to find out if someone has gluten intolerance. You only want to go through a biopsy if there’s a strong likelihood the disease is present. The more doctors understand the symptoms, the better for all undiagnosed Celiacs.
There’s another problem related to dentists. It’s simply that people who are gluten intolerant tell their doctor but not their dentist. Yet the dentist uses teeth cleansing chemicals and hands out samples of toothpaste and tries to fix tooth enamel problems. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to resist anything free. It’s even harder to give back something free.
Of course, I call the toothpaste and dental floss my dentist gives me “free” only because I haven’t gotten the bill yet! In all seriousness, you need to make sure any toothpaste or denture adhesive used doesn’t contain gluten of any kind.
Since I’m gluten intolerant, I watch my children’s teeth carefully for signs they might be developing Celiac disease. It would be nice if the scientists would create a blood test for gluten intolerance, but since there isn’t one, I just have to put two plus two together. Early studies are showing that young children with gluten intolerance have specific enamel problems in the two front teeth.
If I see either of my 2 sons developing tooth enamel problems, I will be on alert for other symptoms related to Celiac disease. Which means I get to say the same thing again I have said many times in the past. You must always be suspicious of anything you put in your mouth – even if it’s toothpaste. The worst thing you can do is forget that gluten can pop up in almost anything. After a while, being on your guard becomes second nature.