It seems like every year there’s a new fad diet taking the country by storm. In the mid-90’s, SlimFast promised weight loss through milkshakes and in the early 2000’s we were convinced walking to Subway everyday would rid the nation of the obesity epidemic. While carbohydrates have been a longtime enemy of dieters around the world, it wasn’t until the early 2010’s that the weight-conscious among us started to single out a specific type of carb: gluten. While these days it’s commonplace to find a gluten-free section in the grocery store or labeled menu items at a restaurant, did you know that being gluten-free is more than just a diet? In fact, it actually stems from a disease which makes the sufferers completely intolerant to gluten. Celiac disease is an immune-mediated disease of the small intestine that affects about 0.7% of the population and it can develop at any point in life after solid foods are introduced to the diet. When Celiac disease develops in children, often some of the first signs and symptoms present orally rather than digestively. If you’re curious as to whether your child’s oral issues may have deeper origins, read on to learn more about oral manifestations of Celiac disease in kids.
1. Their adult teeth haven’t arrived on schedule.
Late dental eruption is one of many oral signs of Celiac in children. While it is not fully understood why, scientists speculate that a reduced ability to absorb nutrients may play a key role in the formation and eruption of adult teeth. Permanent teeth can come in at any point in a child’s life, but they are most typically first seen between the ages of 6 and 7 and have fully come in by about 13. If your child is nearing the outside of this window, a trip to the doctor could be beneficial.
2. They have enamel defects in both primary and permanent teeth.
Again, the consensus is still out on exactly why children with Celiac disease have poor enamel formation, but most hypotheses circle around the poor absorption of nutrients in the small intestines and immunological issues. In a healthy group of children, only about 6% suffer from dental enamel hypoplasia, however those figures are as high as 40-50% in groups of children with Celiac disease. Even with a potentially poorer formation of enamel, studies have found that children with Celiac disease are about as likely to develop cavities as other kids, so an abundance of cavities is not necessarily correlated to this condition.
3. They have a few different oral conditions.
Along with late tooth eruption and poor enamel formation, a child suffering from Celiac disease may have an abnormal amount of canker sores, yellow, white, or brown spots on their teeth, or suffer from dry mouth. Occasionally, a child with Celiac disease will develop atrophic glossitis, a condition affecting the tongue which causes it to appear bright red and shiny. If your child is exhibiting any of these signs, you should bring them to a doctor to be evaluated.
It’s important to remember that there are many possible explanations for dental issues in both children and adults, and it’s necessary to see a doctor to have any medical conditions officially diagnosed.
If you’re worried that your child is exhibiting oral signs of Celiac disease, or if you would simply like to schedule an appointment for a routine cleaning and checkup, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Manus Dental in Hyde Park, Yorkville, or Lake Zurich today!