Celiac disease is in the news a lot lately, and for good reason. The illness, which infamously includes 300+ symptoms ranging from abdominal distress to irritability and depression, is caused by a severe intolerance to gluten, and can affect the body so diversely that even the tooth enamel of a celiac isn’t spared. Undiagnosed in 83% of all cases, Celiac disease is worthy of your attention – particularly when the end result can be multiple tooth extractions and dentures at an early age.
What is Celiac Disease?
So what exactly is Celiac in a nutshell? Basically, Celiac sufferers have an intestinal intolerance to gluten that causes damage to the surface of the small intestine. This reduces the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients through the gut, which can result in bad mood, bad skin, bad everything … including bad teeth. In patients with Celiac, enamel defects are common in 85% of cases. That’s a staggering statistic, and one you’re going to want to stay ahead of if you’d like to keep your teeth. Here’s how to do it:
Know the Symptoms of the Disease
Understandably, any long list of symptoms can be attributed to a wide variety of concerns both benign and serious. In considering the list below, it will be beneficial to look for those symptoms that overlap or are chronic in nature. Here are Celiac’s top sixteen:
Bloating or Gas
Itchy Skin Rash
Pale Mouth Sores
Poor Weight Gain
The above list is from The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. For more, visit Celiac Central.
Consider Your Oral Health Diagnosis
Dentists are excellent triage doctors for a host of illnesses. The mouth truly is the window to the body. However, not all dentists have Celiac on their radar, so remember, you alone are your best care provider! Overly-frequent bouts with cavities, root canals, canker sores, or patchy, ill-formed teeth can all indicate a more insidious problem, especially if you feel your taking good care of your teeth. So, if your dentist is talking with you about these symptoms over and over again (even if they’re not suggesting Celiac), you should consider getting tested to rule out the disease.
Get tested. If you think you may have the disease, and most certainly if care providers are suggesting you might, you owe it to yourself to get tested. A simple genetic test can rule out whether you’re at risk for celiac, and inform you as to whether you need additional testing.
Gluten is everywhere. And no amount of gluten is worth the range of symptoms you can be afflicted with if you have undiagnosed Celiac. So consider your health, consider the test, and be safe!