Coeliac disease in children: an update for general dental practitioners

S P Paul, E. N. Kirkham, R John, K Staines, D Basude

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
445 Downloads (Pure)


Coeliac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated systemic disorder caused by ingestion of gluten found in wheat, rye and barley. It affects around 1% of children, but 90% of cases are considered to remain undiagnosed. CD classically presents with gastrointestinal manifestations including diarrhoea, bloating, weight loss and abdominal pain, but extra-intestinal features (including oral and dental manifestations) are increasingly being reported. Dental and oral manifestations such as dental enamel defects, delayed eruption of teeth, recurrent aphthous ulcers are well-recognised manifestations of CD. In patients with yet undiagnosed CD, these can sometimes be the only presenting features. Dentists have regular contact with well children, and therefore the visit to the dentist is an opportunity to suspect CD. When CD is suspected, Dental practitioners can liaise with the general medical practitioner to organise screening for coeliac disease. Positive serology will prompt onward referral to a paediatric gastroenterologist to confirm the diagnosis. The recent European Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) guidelines revised in 2012 have streamlined the diagnostic pathway for faster diagnosis of CD. Management involves strict adherence to a gluten free diet, which should lead to resolution of symptoms, recovery of intestinal mucosa and prevention of long-term complications associated with it. This article aims to describe CD, inform of recent changes to the diagnostic pathway and highlight the dental manifestations of the condition to equip dental practitioners to aid early diagnosis and initiation of treatment for children with CD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-485
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2016


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