There are 5 million people living with Crohn’s disease all over the world. The condition is also known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. It affects the entire digestive system, from the mouth to the end of the tract, causing inflammation and soreness in the intestinal tissue, which becomes prone to bleeding. Crohn’s disease is accompanied by weight loss, fever, diarrhea and anemia, as well as a lot of oral hygiene issues. Apart from the disease itself, the medication can also lead to ulcers in the mouth and bacteria imbalances, causing a wide array of dental issues.
According to Dr. Marina Krepkh, top rated dentist, cavities are the first sign of Crohn’s disease in up to 30% of the patients. They appear before any other intestinal problems. The treatment for IBD often leads to tooth decay and increases the patient’s risk of developing cavities. The changes caused by the illness in the gastrointestinal lining also lead to tooth decay in some cases.
Crohn’s disease causes lacerations in the intestine, colon, esophagus and mouth. These are often made worse by vitamin deficiencies and the specific treatments against IBD. In patients with Crohn’s disease lip swelling, sarcoidosis, oral tuberculosis and allergic reactions in the mouth are common, as well as yet infections. Most of these are linked to deficiencies in vitamin A, B12, K and zinc.
Gingivitis and gum disease
Another common complication of Crohn’s disease is gingivitis or gum disease, which is accompanied by bleeding of the gums. In patients with IBD the food is not properly absorbed by the body, as the digestive system is not working normally, which can increase the vitamin deficiencies and the risk of anemia. At the same time, these are increasing your risk of developing gum disease. Unfortunately, patients with Crohn’s disease often suffer from poor appetite, which prevents them from maintaining a healthy diet, rich in vitamins and minerals.
How to prevent dental complication from Crohn’s disease
Your dentist can give you advice on how to prevent dental complication from Crohn’s disease, but you can follow some general tips. You should avoid sweetened drinks, like soda or energy drinks. The high sugar content in these promotes tooth decay, so try to rely on water for hydration.
Because yeast infections are common in patients with IBD, you should avoid or limit the amount of dairy you eat, because milk, cheese and yoghurt promote yeast infections.
Increasing your vitamin intake is also a great way to prevent dental issues, but you should talk to your doctor to see which are the best ways to get your vitamins.
If you are a smoker, try to quit and always eat lots of fruits, especially those rich in antioxidants, like berries. Changing your eating patter from three meals a day to six small meals can also prevent tooth decay.
When you first see your dentist make sure you tell them about Crohn’s disease, because certain dental procedures are not advised for patients with IBD. At the same time, your dentist might want to talk to your personal doctor before an intervention.