Scottsdale Dentist: Gluten Sensitivity and Oral Health

A growing concern in health has been the effects of gluten on certain people. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and sometimes oats. It’s estimated that 1 in 133 Americas suffer from Celiac Disease (CD), which is a gluten-related disorder where the body’s immune system works against itself! When a person with CD consumes gluten, their immune system considers the gluten as a threat and attacks it. From this attack, the body’s normal absorption of nutrients is affected, as well as the cilia along your digestive lining, which can lead to a variety of systemic conditions, such as intestinal cancer.

Over time with lack of nutrients, your teeth’s enamel may start to have defects. Dull spots, pitting, or chalky grooves are commonly noticed in this condition, in place of normal shiny surfaces. These spots may be a sign of decalcification, which means you’ve lost surface enamel crystals, the shiny coating on your teeth. Also, people with CD are more susceptible to outbreaks of aphthous ulcers (canker sores).

It’s easy for symptoms of CD to be misdiagnosed or unnoticed, even for years! If you’re on the fence if you have CD, you can get a definitive diagnosis through a blood test for gluten antibodies. After this result, if needed, a biopsy of intestine tissue will confirm diagnosis.

The only recognized treatment for CD is to remove gluten from your diet. Research continues for a medication for treatment. Though removing gluten from your diet sounds easy, its a lot harder to know what you can and can’t eat and constantly looking to food labels. Thankfully with time and increase of CD, food manufacturers are clearly labeling products and offering more gluten free options.

CD is a serious condition that could even become life-threatening. Knowing you or someone in your family has it will help you protect both your overall health and your teeth.

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