If you or a loved one suffers from Celiac disease, then you know that this health issue is more than just avoiding bread! This immune-mediated disease of the small intestine makes patients completely intolerant to gluten. It can crop up at any point in one’s life after solid foods are introduced, and it impacts around .7% of the population! Thankfully, awareness around this health issue is spreading, which means avoiding gluten in restaurants and at the grocery store has become easier and easier. However, you might be wondering how you can detect this disease, particularly in children. Perhaps surprisingly, there are actually a few ways this disease can manifest in your child’s oral health. Therefore, if you’re wondering if your child suffers from Celiac disease, consider whether or not they exhibit any of the following three signs.
1. If their adult teeth arrived late
Children with Celiac often have a late arrival when it comes to their permanent teeth. Typically, children will begin losing their baby teeth to make room for permanent ones around age 6 or 7, and they’ll have a full set of permanent teeth by age 13. However, children with Celiac experience this process a bit later in their childhood. Scientists can’t explain for certain why this occurs, but many speculate that this is a result of the child’s difficulty in absorbing vital nutrients that facilitate the formation of the child’s adult teeth. Therefore, if your child’s teeth arrive on the later than is considered typical, it may be worth a visit to your pediatrician.
2. If both their baby teeth and permanent teeth had enamel defects
Just as poor nutrient absorption could be to blame for your child’s delayed permanent teeth, it could also be to blame for deficiencies in their dental enamel. While children with Celiac experience similar rates of cavities as other children, they are at significantly greater risk for enamel-related issues like hypoplasia—or underdeveloped dental enamel. Therefore, be sure to bring your child to the dentist from either their first birthday or the appearance of their first tooth (whichever comes first). This will allow your dentist to ensure that your child’s teeth are forming correctly and set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.
3. If they have any of the following oral health issues
Does your child get canker sores quite frequently? Do they have an unusual number of white, yellow, or brown spots on their teeth? Do they have difficulty swallowing or speaking as a result of dry mouth? Does their tongue appear unusually bright and shiny (a sign of atrophic glossitis)? Unfortunately, any of these oral health issues could be indicative of Celiac disease in children. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, it is important that you discuss the issue with your doctor in order to get a diagnosis.
If your child is exhibiting any of the above oral health signs of Celiac disease, then it may be a good idea to bring up the issue with their pediatrician. While there are plenty of possible explanations for these oral health conditions, it certainly cannot hurt to have them looked at by a medical professional!
If you have any questions regarding your child’s oral health, we’re here to help. Call Hinsdale Dental to schedule your child’s appointment today!Return to Blog