You may not know exactly what hypoplasia and hypomineralization are, but we bet you’ve seen evidence of them in someone’s smile. They are two dental conditions that often present as white spots on teeth or pits and grooves in the enamel of teeth. Moreover, there is now evidence that hypoplasia and hypomineralization may be indicative of celiac disease. Read on to learn more about this important topic from your dentist in Arlington, Dr. Ravi Doctor.
What is Enamel Hypoplasia (EH)?
Evidence of enamel hypoplasia appears as a defect in the development of either a primary (baby) tooth or a permanent one. There can be both visible pits and grooves that compromise the structure of a tooth or a missing portion in the crown of a tooth.
What is Hypomineralization?
Alternatively, hypomineralization means that there is an insufficient amount of mineral content in tooth enamel. A mild case of hypomineralization may not even be noticeable. However, severe case can make a tooth appear more translucent, resulting in white marks.
What is the Connection to Celiac Disease?
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.” When someone with celiac disease eats gluten—a protein found in wheat, rye and barley—the body begins an immune response that attacks the small intestine. Villi, small projections that line the small intestine, are damaged and cannot properly absorb nutrients into the body. Celiac disease can develop at any age and currently the only known treatment is following a strict gluten-free diet. Common symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, heartburn and indigestion, anemia, osteoporosis and skin rash.
However, many patients with celiac disease may have no symptoms other than oral and dental abnormalities including hypoplasia and hypomineralization. In fact, a recent study showed that 55 percent of children with celiac disease had enamel defects, compared to only 18 percent of children without the disease. The bright white spots that are the hallmark of hypomineralization can be seen most often in children’s permanent teeth, but also in their baby teeth.
There are other causes of enamel defects including vitamin D deficiency, dental fluorosis, and traumatic injury to a tooth, localized infection and antibiotics. Nevertheless, enamel defects such as EH and hypomineralization can be early indicators of celiac disease. Therefore, simply seeing the dentist can be an effective and noninvasive way to begin the diagnosis of celiac disease.
Contact Our Office Today
Dr. Doctor, your “dentist near me,” would be happy to provide more information on EH and hypomineralization, as well as their connection to a possible diagnosis of celiac disease. Please call our office today to schedule a dental checkup.