At our office in Martinsburg, we occasionally see patients with soft or damaged enamel, which looks like pits or discolored areas on your teeth. It is often diagnosed as too much fluoride as a child, dental decay, tetracycline antibiotic use, or from an infection in the womb or in adolescence as the teeth were forming, but did you know that it can also be due to Celiac disease?
If you are not familiar, Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack your digestive tract when you eat foods containing gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fatigue, bloating, and gas, although many people show no symptoms at all.
Not all enamel defects are caused by Celiac disease, but it is often one of the first signs of the disease in children. Enamel issues associated with Celiac disease occur on the permanent teeth and can include tooth discoloration (white, yellow, or brown spots), poor formation of the enamel (pits or bands in the enamel), or speckled looking teeth. These imperfections are typically symmetrical and are often noticed on the front teeth and molars. There are other signs of Celiac disease that can also show up in your mouth, such as frequent sores or ulcers, a red, smooth tongue, and dry mouth.
Unfortunately, defects in the enamel from Celiac disease are permanent and will not change after switching to a gluten-free diet. However, Dr. Browning, your dentist in Martinsburg, can use bonding, veneers, or other cosmetic treatments to cover the defects and help strengthen the enamel. If you are concerned about defects in your enamel or your child’s enamel, please call us to set up an examination appointment.