White Spots on Teeth Could Mean Celiac Disease

on Apr17
by Dr. Vikki Petersen | Print the article |

Your Teeth could be Telling you that you have a Disease

White spots, discolorations and undersized teeth can be unsightly, and most adults with the financial ability utilize crowns or veneers to solve the aesthetics of the problem. While a pretty white covering might make the patient happier when they look in the mirror, ignoring the root cause of those enamel defects could shorten your life! Sound dramatic? It’s not if you realize those defects could indicate undiagnosed celiac disease.

Celiac disease, affecting 1 to 4% of the population, is an autoimmune disease known to shorten the lifespan of those affected. Plus, as an autoimmune disease, having celiac increases your risk of developing other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Cancer incidence also increases with celiac disease.

Almost 90% of Celiacs have Tooth Enamel Defects

Children who have enamel defects are assumed to have developed the problem from fluoride, a mother who took tetracycline (an antiobiotic) or from an illness early on in childhood. While those are all possible, it is important to realize that celiac disease is highly associated with dental enamel defects. According to a reference book, ‘up to 89%’ of people with celiac disease exhibit enamel problems – that is a huge percentage.

Everything from white spots to undersized teeth to yellowing teeth to teeth with grooves or pitting on permanent teeth should all raise a red-flag for potential celiac disease. The longer a patient has celiac disease, the more likely they will suffer severe health issues. Therefore, it is critical that parents and dentists alike appreciate what such tooth disorders can signal. It goes far beyond appearance.

A collaborative study between a dentist, Ted Malahias, DDS and leading celiac researcher Peter Green, MD revealed that the enamel defects in children most likely occurred due to the onset of the disease while the dental enamel was forming. They concluded that dentists and all physicians, for that matter, increase their education to understand this strong association.

Of course the deficiency of vitamin D and calcium that can occur secondary to celiac disease add ‘insult to injury’ and can well hasten dental cavity formation.

‘Silent’ Celiac Disease could be Expressed only in Your Teeth

Celiac disease can, unfortunately, be silent. A study of 128 adult patients following a gluten-free diet revealed that dental enamel changes in permanent teeth may be the only observable symptoms of otherwise ‘silent’ celiac disease.

The sad facts are that we only diagnose 3 to 5% of all the Americans suffering from celiac disease. It is an extremely poor diagnosis rate and anything we can do to increase awareness will go a long way to improving the health status of those suffering.

Educate Your Dentist and Doctor

So look at your child’s teeth and your own. Unless you have a very savvy dentist you will likely have to educate him or her about what enamel defects could mean. But please consider showing this post to your dentist. I guarantee that during the course of their practice they will successfully diagnose someone suffering from celiac disease as a result. The only way we are going to increase awareness is to develop a grass roots movement.

I am committed to increasing awareness of both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Please help me.

My destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally. The good news is that you don’t need to live locally to get treated.

If you or someone you care about is not enjoying good health, please contact me for a free health analysis. We are here to help. Call 408-733-0400.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”

References:

1. “Recognizing Celiac Disease” by Cleo Libonati
2. National Institutes of Health. http://celiac.nih.gov/DentalEnamel.aspx
3. Refuat Hapeh Vehashinayim. (Israeli Medical Journal) “The relationship between celiac disease (CD) and dental problems”.2011 Oct;28(4):12-8, 37.

Permission is granted to re-post this article in its entirety with credit to Dr Vikki Petersen & HealthNOW Medical Center and a clickable link back to this page. Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN is founder of HealthNOW Medical Center and the author of “The Gluten Effect” and eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you”.  She has been featured in national magazines, international medical journals and is a frequent headlined speaker.


The Author

10 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. 1

    I am interested to repost this but was unable to find medical research in PubMed to confirm a correlation between white spots on the teeth and celiac. Do you have a reference abstract that I could link?

    Thanks,

    Pat Robinson

    17 Apr
  2. Deb S.

    3

    Dr. Peterson, Do you know of any link between Celiac Disease and Osteogenesis Imperfecta or Dentinogenesis Imperfecta? Or, between CD and any other syndrome of collagen deficiency? Thank you for your time. Deb Sochor

    17 Apr
  3. 4

    Hello Pat,
    I have the references at the bottom of the blog post. You can see it here.

    I hope that helps!

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    17 Apr
  4. 5

    Hello Deb,

    I haven’t seen any particular research on a link. However, they are autoimmune and there is a strong association between celiac and other autoimmune diseases. It would certainly be worth ruling out celiac as an underlying cause.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    17 Apr
  5. Marilyn

    6

    You are forgetting that overexposure to fluoride has been the main cause of these dental defects.

    I would bet that the celiacs who are presenting with the spotty teeth would also be found to have fluorosis. Check out this information on fluorosis.

    Overexposure to fluoride is rampant across the country due to the consumption of foods and beverages processed with fluoridated water, in addition to the fluoridated water supplies. It is estimated that those living in fluoridated areas are receiving between two and SEVEN TIMES the “recommended” dose of 1 mg fluoride.

    The celiac child is much more vulnerable to this chemical because of the nutritional deficits that occur with damaged intestines, particularly the effect on Vitamin D and calcium. Calcium protects against fluoride.

    I would suggest a tour of the website of the Fluoride Action Network.

    Please pay careful attention to this. Children are suffering such great harm.

    17 Apr
  6. 7

    Hello Marilyn,

    I agree that fluoride is a component but we still don’t want to miss a celiac diagnosis.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    17 Apr
  7. Steven Vogler

    8

    My seven year old granddaughter (one of twin girls) has white spots on her bottom 4 front teeth (permanent). The upper front teeth are just now coming in and we can’t determine if they have spots. This child has lost 6 teeth and her twin only one. She is very concerned about her spots on these teeth. What do you propose that we do about this matter. Her divorced parents have not scheduled a dental appointment, though the spots have been visible for some time now.
    Thank you.

    17 Apr
  8. Trish

    9

    I have a 16 month old and just noticed white spots on her teeth. I have not fed her any grains, and she does not consume much water. Since she still breastfeeds, is it possible for to have a celiac reaction via breastmilk if I eat grains? I’m cutting back since I feel I have at least gluten intolerance, but will speed this along if my consumption of grains is adversely affecting her.

    17 Apr
  9. 10

    Hello Trish,

    Thank you for your comment. I hope this answers your question about your baby and breast feeding. http://www.healthnowmedical.com/blog/2011/04/08/gluten-intolerance-risk-when-to-introduce-gluten-to-a-baby/
    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    To your good health

    Dr Vikki Petersen

    17 Apr
  • White Spots on Teeth Could Mean Celiac Disease (Health Now Medical Center | The Coming Plague - Apr 23rd
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