Celiac Disease & Tooth Enamel Loss

Enamel problems related to celiac?

Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I seem to be losing some of the enamel from my teeth. I’m not sure when this began but it makes me sad because I spend a lot of time and effort caring for my teeth and it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

As usual my first thought is ‘Is enamel loss related to celiac disease?’ Some days it feels as though almost anything could be. If you’re celiac I’m sure you have similar feelings. In searching for a link I came across a bunch of interesting articles linking celiac disease with tooth enamel loss. This article discusses how enamel problems may be an indicator of celiac disease and how “tooth enamel damage can be fairly common in patients with celiac disease.” This article from the National Institute of Health also discusses a link between dental enamel defects and celiac disease. This both gives me hope that enamel issues may be in my genes and therefore I’m not doing anything wrong but at the same time also makes me a little sad because I may not be able to fix this problem for the same reasons.

I never drink pop, I rarely drink fruit juice, I drink a couple f cups of tea a day. I eat candy and chocolate sometimes but who doesn’t? Are the enamel issues I’m having related to me being celiac or is it just bad luck?

Are you a celiac with tooth enamel problems? Any tips for me? I’m never going to pass for a shiny white toothed American at this rate! 🙂

UPDATE: Since removing anything from my diet that I’m not 100% certain is safe from cross contamination, I’ve been feeling better than ever. Interestingly as well as any lingering symptoms disappearing I feel as though my teeth are looking a LITTLE better. Don’t get me wrong, some of the enamel is still gone and I’m not sure if it will ever come back but I feel like my smile looks a wee bit better than it did a few months ago. I’m still not proud of my smile though, especially living in California where it feels like everyone has perfect teeth but me..

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  • See, I do drink a lot of fruit juice (a huge amount actually) but I always have done. I only noticed the enamel loss about 2 years ago, I believe that I’ve had coeliac since 2007, gluten free since early 2009, so it seems to fit for me.

  • When I saw a GI specialist in order to be tested for Celiac’s, one of the first questions he asked me was if I have had tooth problems. He specifically asked if I’ve had bad enamel because that is something commonly seen in those with CD…. :/

  • Thanks for commenting, guys! I’m getting a lot of responses from celiacs who have enamel issues. Have your enamel problems improved since beginning your gluten free diet or is it too late? I’ve been strictly gf for 3 years but I still suffer from enamel loss..

  • I have about the same sweet drink and candy intake as you. I get a lot of cavities I brush twice a day. I should floss more, but can’t get into the habit. I stopped using commercial fluoride toothpastes and switched to natural, fluoride free. I don’t know if it’s making a difference or not in the way of cavities. I have an appointment with my dentist later this year for my annual analysis.

    I suggest you ask your dentist about options. Maybe you can do some sort of veneers to protect your teeth.

  • My dentist prescribed a special toothpaste, Colgate PreviDent 5000 Plus. He always seemed really worried about my extreme enamel loss, but after I went gluten-free he calmed down about the state of my teeth. So I asked him specifically about it and he said my enamel was fine. So maybe the enamel can regenerate itself.

  • DavidJ_GF

    Apr 26th, 2012

    Been meaning to add to this discussion for weeks. Sorry for the delay.

    For sure there is a definite connection with Coeliac Disease and teeth issues. If you for example look at pregnant woman, their teeth condition is closely monitored during the 9 months and the year after in the UK (given free dental care during this time). This is because of the bodies need for more calcium. So is no different to a Coeliacs greater requirement or lack of calcium intake due to malabsorption.

    Personally i have had teeth and enamel issues for at least 3 years before Coeliac diagnosis. In fact have Osteopenia because of not adsorbing enough calcium before diagnosis. So now on Vit D and Calcium supplements.

    But my Dentist gave me some very good advice to help. Should add he tested for acidic saliva (as apparently be effected by the bodies health etc) and obviously this only but worsens the effect on weak tooth enamel.

    Firstly recommended and High Fluoride tooth paste: Colgate Duraphat – Which you can get from dentists pharmacies in the UK. Or slightly cheaper easier to get hold off option: Sensodyne Repair and Protect – Which i now use and is very good.

    Secondly a acid neutralizing mouth wash: Dentyl Active Ultra Cleanse with bicarbonate of soda – This i was told to use after i had eaten. For example at breakfast. Clean your teeth as per normal, eat breaky (in case you don’t know how to do this 😉 ) and then rinse with the mouthwash etc. The reason for this is its meat to obviously neutralize and acid, but also was back minerals into your teeth :-/ Anyway this i duly did and its working.

    Other advice he gave was to not use a Whitening tooth paste, as this doesn’t help. Also to cut down or stop drinking Caffeine Tea or Coffee. This i have followed to the letter, but definitely understand why and have cut down.

    Unfortunately i don’t think your teeth will ever fully remover. I still and will always have the dish marks in my tooth surface. Combination of softness and too hard scrubbing. But they are improving. Are a lot lot stronger, shinier and have no sensitivity issues any more.

    Hope this helps…

  • do a search for ‘oil pulling’ — an ayurvedic healing method which can help to re-mineralize teeth, rebuilding enamel (something we’ve been told isn’t acutally possible). may possibly help other problems as well.

    too much brushing and harsh toothpaste can actually damage enamel and prevent teeth from remineralizing

  • Thanks for your advice, everyone! Clearly enamel issues are a genuine concern for celiacs.

    A bunch of people have suggested staying away from whitening toothpaste which is what I’m doing now. I started using a mini Oral B toothpaste I had from my UK dentist and now I’m using Arm & Hammer Complete Care with enamel strengthening. Even in the last couple of weeks I feel as though my teeth are looking a lot better so hopefully they will continue to improve.

    I always thought that enamel couldn’t be regenerated but I’m starting to think it may be able to. Interesting..

  • According to our family dentist, who is also a professor at the local university’s dental school, there is a definite connection between celiac disease and oral health/tooth condition, in part due to the (mal)absorption of fluoride and calcium. She hasn’t been more specific about what can be done to reverse any damage, but is emphatic that we need to be very conscientious about our brushing/flossing habits, as well as routine visits to the dentist. She seemed to indicate that as celiac improves/worsens, so does tooth health, which may give another indication of what is actually going on inside in terms of intestinal health (if the teeth suddenly get worse, it may indicate that the gut isn’t doing so well).

  • Gillian utting

    Mar 22nd, 2013

    OMG. I have been gf for 2.5 yrs, after being advised by my dental dept . I had suffered with ALL the symptoms and horrendous mouth ulcers which refused to clear for months on end .My dentist , who is prefixed by Dr incidentally sent me to his ex boss.By the time I did the blood test I was getting better- SO I wasnt a coeliac.
    Before Christmas last year ,I eventually got my MD to send me to the correct dept to be diagnosed!
    HAHA, I had been back eating gluten for nearly 4 months so all the pains etc.had returned. Only to be told I offered up none of the accredited symptoms.!!!!! Rather than putting me through what he called ” a rather nasty procedure” he was prepared to admit I have an allergy to gluten. I came home and sobbed buckets. I know what I am and what I have, so I have gone gf again sinceFeb when I saw the specialist.AND I am much better now for it.
    IF I transgress I know I can use Buscopan to quell the pains. WHy me? thats all I can say. why ME.?
    Am I mad or am I MAD ?

  • Great post as this isn’t discussed enough. Yes there’s lots of research we’ve come across in our time on the link with tooth & gum problems and coeliac disease. Sadly once the enamel is damaged it’s very hard to resolve. Our dentist recommended using Pro- Enamel toothpaste as it’s meant to be proven to help repair & strengthen it. Who knows if it does. It doesn’t taste icky or sting the tongue like some minty fresh ones so we like it even though it costs more than others. Also be sure not to use any mouthwashes straight after brushing – normally toothpaste interacts with how they work. Corsodyl is good for gum bleeding and gum disease. You’re not alone and us Brits have teeth way worse than American’s so I wouldn’t worry. Those Californian ones are probably all fake.