The incredible advancement of technology has allowed for many discoveries in health care, resulting in improved understanding of previously unrecognised diseases and eased suffering of countless people. Coeliac Disease is one particular example of this, where people who may have endured unexplained or misdiagnosed symptoms for years without relief, can now manage their condition far more successfully.
The term ‘Coeliac Disease’ (CD), associated with the common food ingredient, ‘gluten’, is an autoimmune disease that causes a multitude of uncomfortable gastrointestinal and extraintestinal symptoms. People who are susceptible can develop CD when exposed to gluten in their diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, barley and rye as well as genetic versions like spelt. In CD, an auto-immune response to ingestion of even a small amount of gluten causes inflammation and damage to the small intestine, and as a result, they are unable to absorb nutrients from their diet.
While the immediate focus for most sufferers is to relieve their symptoms, it is valuable to consider the effect that CD can have on dental health. In fact, it is not uncommon for dental professionals to be the first to detect the early signs of CD as there are several oral and dental indicators. The British Dental Journal in 2016 listed defects in tooth enamel, recurring ulcers, delayed eruption of teeth, higher risk of tooth decay and other conditions affecting the lining of the cheeks, lips and tongue as indicators of the disease. CD is also closely linked with osteoporosis and as such can compromise the jaw bones which support the teeth. Given that CD is a genetic disorder, regular active maintenance from an early age to review eruption and overall oral health is essential.
The effect of gluten can cause incredible discomfort to Coeliacs, and so it is worth considering whether it is an ingredient in other products. We are pleased to have linked with the Coeliac Society of Queensland, who have advised us that dental products are gluten-free. However, if you have any concerns, please discuss this with your Dentist who can confirm with manufacturers.
If you do suffer from CD, or suspect that you might have this disease, you can rest assured that our experienced Dentists and Oral Health Therapists at Medland Dental are aware of the risks for CD and check teeth, gums and all the tissues in the mouth for signs or symptoms.