Treatment Guide

Dentists Can Help to Recognize Celiac Disease

[Editor’s Note: Article first published Jul 2, 2008]

Photo credit: Oral Source

Dentistry Blog

By Tammy Davenport, Guide to Dentistry since 2005

Celiac disease causes the body’s immune system to damage and attack the small intestine upon consumption of proteins in barley, rye, wheat and possibly oats. Since there are no specific blood tests to determine if someone has Celiac disease, doctors use blood tests to look for certain autoantibodies and biopsy the small intestine to look for traits of Celiac disease. Nancy Lapid, our Guide to Celiac Disease, points out that certain dental conditions are more common in people with this disease, which puts dentists in a good position to help notice when a patient might have Celiac disease.

Some examples of dental related problems in a patient with Celiac disease are tooth enamel defects, canker sores and delayed eruption in the teeth.


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  1. joseph smariela

    Great article. My dentist is local, amazing and not that expensive.

  2. I was looking under the denistry. I really would like to know where I can find a list of medications used by dentist and if they are gluten free. I recently had some fillings and need more and they used septocaine and lidocaine. Id really appreciate any help.

  3. Yes there is a blood test to see if someone has Celiac disease. Your article contradicts itself. The blood test you mentioned IS the test for Celiac disease. Don’t mislead people.

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      Good point. You are correct that certain blood tests indicate celiac disease. However, it is important to note that no one test is 100% diagnostic for celiac disease. It is through a combination of observation of symptoms, blood tests, (tTG, AGA, dAGA), endoscopy with biopsy AND improvement after following a gluten-free diet that a doctor can make a positive diagnosis of celiac disease. A major problem with celiac disease testing is that patients and physicians are unaware that the “celiac disease tests” can (and do) provide false negatives. Because many doctors do not understand how the tests work, if a blood test is “negative,” they tell a patient, “You don’t have it.” In fact, the blood tests are not pass/fail. They tell you the level of antibodies in the blood. The pass point is the level of antibodies at which most people would have enough damage in the intestine to produce a positive finding on endoscopy with biopsy of the small intestine. Therefore, if the blood test results are not high enough, the result is negative – but the person could still have celiac disease. They may not produce enough antibodies if they are too sick or if tested again in three months could be very high. Please see Diagnosis and Testing for more information.

  4. TINA- you obviously have not done the research. No one test is 100% diagnostic. Not even blood- I went though a lot as many others have before the true diagnosis was found. They mislead no one- get your facts straight!

  5. Celiac disease is an interesting case, to say the least, and many people may not know that dental health can be evidence of the disease in question. Interesting details shared here!

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