Dentists can be the first identifiers of celiac disease. Up to 89% of people with celiac disease exhibit dental enamel defects. Dental enamel defects are characterized by alteration in the hard, white, dense, inorganic substance covering the crowns of the teeth. These defects may include demarcated opacities (white spots), undersized teeth, yellowing, grooves and/or pitting on one or more permanent teeth.(1)
A study of 128 patients on a gluten-free diet revealed that changes in the permanent teeth may be the only sign of an otherwise symptomless celiac disease.(1) It should also be noted that calcium and vitamin D deficiencies are common in celiac disease. Deficiencies of these nutrients lead to cavities.
“Dentists mostly say it’s from fluoride, that the mother took tetracycline, or that there was an illness early on,” said Peter H.R. Green, M.D., director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. “Celiac disease isn’t on the radar screen of dentists in this country. Dentists should be made aware of these manifestations to help them identify (more…)