Dentists are Taking an Active Role in Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity
Oral Signs of Gluten Sensitivity
A new published report discussed the symptoms of gluten sensitivity that are commonly present in patients visiting the dentist office. The final recommendation was that the dentist submit a referral to the patient’s family physician when encountering physical signs of gluten in the mouth.
Celiac disease (gluten sensitive enteropathy) is a common disorder affecting both children and adults. As many people with celiac disease do not present with the classic malabsorptive syndrome, delays in diagnosis are common. Dental enamel defects and recurrent aphthous ulcers, which may occur in patients with celiac disease, may be the only manifestation of this disorder. When dentists encounter these features, they should enquire about other clinical symptoms, associated disorders and family history of celiac disease. In suspected cases, the patient or family physician should be advised to obtain serologic screening for celiac disease and, if positive, confirmation of the diagnosis by intestinal biopsy. Dentists can play on important role in identifying people who may have unrecognized celiac disease. Appropriate referral and a timely diagnosis can help prevent serious complications of this disorder.
J Can Dent Assoc. 2011;77:b39.
From Mouth To Intestine – Gluten Impacts the Entire GI Tract
Most use the terms gluten sensitivity and celiac disease synonymously. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of misdiagnosis as doctors continue to perform lab tests that only look for celiac disease. These tests focus on the gluten induced damage present only in the small intestine. For a thorough break down of the differences, watch this video <<< As stated above, sometimes the only manifestations of gluten induced disease are found in the mouth. Apthous ulcers (canker sores), and dental enamel defects were the symptoms described. There are a number of other oral manifestations of gluten as well.
- Canker sores
- Geographic tongue (gluten induced damage on the tongue – makes the tongue look similar to a topographical map)
- Tonsilar stones or exudates (appears as white lumps of puss embedded in the tonsils)
- Pharyngeal Erythema (chronic severe redness in the back of the throat)
- Excessive mucus production (leads to chronic throat clearing)
- Bad breath
- Cystic Frenula (a small cyst can form on the flap of skin connecting your top lip to your gums)
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- tooth enamel defects
Stomach and Esophagus
- Gerd (Gastric Reflux)
- Gastric Ulcers
- Stomach gas and bloating (chronic – after eating)
- Barret’s Esophagus
- Hiatal Hernia
- H. Pylori infection
- Vitamin B-12 Anemia
- Iron deficiency anemia (both B-12 and iron require special chemicals made in the stomach to be absorbed)
Small & Large Intestine
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Chronic Diarrhea
- Chronic Constipation
- Abdominal migraines
Gluten has been linked to hundreds of diseases and symptoms. If you suspect that gluten might be a part of your health issues, get genetically tested to confirm. You might also find our simple gluten self test helpful.
Share this article with your dentist. Let him or her know about our new Gluten Certification Program for health care providers, and help spread the word. Together we can teach more about the broad reaching effects of gluten sensitivity!
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