Oral Complications in Patients with Celiac Disease

Oral health doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Oral health is affected by your overall health, and vice versa. Celiac disease is one of the systemic diseases that may lead to oral health complications. Patients with celiac disease are encouraged to see their dentist regularly, and to disclose any changes to their health history at each dental visit.

Dental Enamel Defects

Celiac disease can occur very early in life. Patients who are diagnosed with celiac disease earlier than seven years of age can be at a higher risk of enamel problems. These are caused by the disrupted formation of the enamel on the baby teeth and permanent teeth. Enamel defects can stem from nutritional deficiencies and an immune-mediated response. Some potential signs of enamel defects due to celiac disease include:

  • Horizontal lines or grooves
  • Rough surface
  • White or yellow opacities
  • Structural defects

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a common problem for patients of all ages, with or without celiac disease. But experts have suggested that dental caries occur with even greater frequency in children with celiac disease. This may be due to structural changes of the teeth, as well as nutritional deficiencies directly caused by the disease.

Canker Sores

Patients with celiac disease are more susceptible to aphthous ulcers, or canker sores, than non-celiac patients. These outbreaks can cause discomfort or pain while eating, talking, and brushing the teeth. Like celiac disease itself, these symptoms can be lessened by strictly adhering to a gluten-free diet.

Delayed Tooth Development

A child’s baby teeth generally start to fall out at around age six. But in children with celiac disease, the baby teeth can stick around longer than usual. Their permanent teeth may erupt later than usual too. This is because celiac disease can result in delayed dental and skeletal development.

At the Tucson, AZ dental office of John Carson, DDS, our patients enjoy a warm, welcoming atmosphere. We take pride in providing patient education and exceptional preventive health services. Schedule your next checkup today by calling (520) 514-7203.


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