More than you might think, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. “Gluten-free,” the latest dietary buzzword, has gained popularity among healthy living enthusiasts and celebrities alike. While many people tout gluten-free as the latest way to shed extra pounds, nutritionists have other concerns. Celiac disease, which causes gluten intolerance, is a very real disorder that affects millions of men and women. Dr. Vi Mai, your Garland, TX family dentist, explains how gluten intolerance affects your teeth.
What Is Gluten, and Where Is It Found?
Gluten, a protein, is found in rye, barley, wheat, and other grains. Most people tolerate gluten with no problems, but some people are unable to digest it. When someone with celiac disease ingests gluten, he experiences bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation. The autoimmune disorder, which targets the small intestine, affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and minerals from food. Because 95% of tooth enamel consists of minerals, celiac patients usually have badly damaged tooth enamel that cannot repair itself. Gluten intolerance can also cause small sores in the mouth.
How Does Celiac Disease Affect My Teeth?
It’s not unusual for patients to go several years without actually being diagnosed with celiac disease. In the meantime, they find themselves baffled to discover frequent cavities despite diligent brushing and flossing. Tooth decay progresses rapidly in celiac patients, so much that following a fairly standard oral hygiene regimen isn’t sufficient to ward off problems. As a result, teeth appear yellow, brown, or white discoloration, or the surfaces may look mottled and uneven. Because the condition creates pits and craters in the surface of the teeth, your teeth are more likely to develop stains. If you are diagnosed with the disorder, you will most likely require treatment by a gastroenterologist. Unless you seek treatment, your teeth—including any dental work you have done—will continue to suffer the consequences.
How Does Cosmetic Dentistry Benefit Celiac Patients?
Celiac disease causes permanent damage that affects the appearance and function of your teeth. Fortunately, Dr. Mai offers several treatment options. If the surfaces of your teeth have not been badly compromised, teeth whitening can help create a more evenly colored enamel surface. If the mottling is severe, or if you have lost parts of the tooth, you may be a candidate for porcelain veneers or dental crowns. Although crowns resist decay, veneers require at least some underlying natural tooth structure to achieve the desired results. Dr. Mai also offers fluoride treatments to help remineralize tooth enamel.
Has celiac disease affected the appearance or structure of your teeth? To learn more about cosmetic and family dentistry in Garland, TX, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vi Mai, contact our office at (972) 530-0552. We treat patients of all ages, and our staff speaks English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Dr. Mai welcomes patients living in Wylie, Murphy, Allen, Dallas, Plano, and the surrounding areas.