Oral Manifestations of Celiac Disease - Celiac Disease
Aug 17 2012

Oral Manifestations of Celiac Disease

While Celiac Disease (CD) is an internal condition that has to do with the small intestine’s inability to process gluten and absorb food nutrients properly, dentists may often see if and when the condition is present just by looking at the teeth. Celiac Disease, most commonly developing in children, does not begin to show symptoms until much later and often, when it has worsened. But when the tooth enamel demonstrates some problems, the dentist can seek the help of an internist to do more tests and diagnosis for confirmation.

Celiac Disease and the Teeth

Studies done in Europe as far back as the 70’s point to the relationship between CD and dental problems, where tooth enamel damage is heavily present. Another study supports previous researches done by saying that at least 40% to 80% do present dental health issues, when other symptoms of CD are not present.

The indications  of CD though oral manifestations vary from patient to patient, but the characteristics of tooth damage generally include:

  • color variegation
  • roughness of teeth surface
  • grooves in the dentition line
  • changes in the teeth’s shape to conical or points
  • severe cases that may indicate trauma to the teeth

The enamel damage is also peculiar with celiac disease, as there is symmetry to it. Meaning to say that if the incisors, for example, located in right side shows defects, it’s also likely that its counterpart to the left side exhibit similar problems.

Other symptoms may include recurrent inflammation of the gums and ulcerations in the mouth, which are usually treated with medication and proper dental care or hygiene. Treating the symptoms of these dental problems, however, does not completely help with the real cause.


Unfortunately, it’s never easy to detect the root cause of Celiac Disease. The problem baffling experts is that no one can still explain the exact cause as to why teeth damage relates to CD. Studies have yet to be done further to determine this. But there are a lot of theories.

Since small intestines have difficulty with absorption, the body may be getting less and less nutrients, including the teeth that need all these vitamins and minerals for its development. One research says that teeth enamel damage may be present because of the high concentration of HLA DR3, a kind of antigen, in the blood of CD patients. Antigens cause plaque build-up in the teeth.

Early Detection Helps

There are only about 5% of people who receive proper diagnosis for CD, as this is considered a “silent disease”. Some may think that the Celiac Disease is only present with young children whose teeth are still developing, and may disregard any tooth problems as part of the process of growing up. And then there’s a miniscule percentage of adults who may have CD and don’t know it. The prevalence of teeth defects should be a clear indication that something systemic must be wrong.

At any rate, if the enamel defect is recurrent, prevalent or severe, a consultation with the dentist and an internist should be in order, so that the real cause of this is detected early. With early detection, any damages or consequences to the body and general health are greatly reduced.

This article was contributed by Braces Cost Info. Although celiac disease may be an internal problem, the proper caring and cleaning of the teeth prevents the build-up of plaque that can lead to cavities and teeth damage. Take care of your teeth well.

Article Written by:

Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!

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