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Could Toothache cause Gluten intolerance?


I have always wondered whether developing tooth sensitivity had anything to do with eventually being diagnosed as having Coeliac Disease. My tooth sensitivity all began many years ago when being enticed by an advert to change my toothpaste to a new one. The toothpaste that I changed to is thankfully (at least near to where I live) no longer available it was called 'Close-up' .... it came in two colours, I believe a jelly-like red and a jelly-like blue - and it didn't take long before I suddenly found myself wincing with every sip of cold or hot liquid, ice-cream or other food items.

All these years later, it left me wondering whether this could have been a trigger to the problem of gluten.

May be it is a question that I will never have the answer to but I have found several references that indicate that there may well be a connection at least in a few people:

21 Replies

There is definitely a link between sensitive teeth and coeliac disease, but I think its probably the other way round from what you are suggesting.

Untreated coeliac disease can cause fairly major malabsorption problems, and one of the results of this is dental enamel defects (thin or patchy enamel on your teeth which makes them really sensitive and prone to decay). Another is very soft and crumbly teeth - my dentist described my adult teeth as being as soft as childrens milk teeth. not good. "Soft" teeth is caused by demineralisation of teeth - the same kind of thing that happens with your bones with osteoporosis (which can also be caused by untreated coeliac disease).

So I'd say that in your case it was highly likely that it was untreated coeliac disease that led to your sensitive teeth. The difference when you changed toothpaste could have been that the one you used originally was actually protecting the enamel on your teeth so you didn't notice the problem, and the gel one wasn't doing that so well, which is why your teeth got feeling more sensitive.

in reply to earthwitch

May be you are right. My sensitive teeth began nearly forty years ago. I was brought up using Gibbs SR toothpaste - I don't think it protected my enamel though as I had quite a few fillings at the school dentist. They appear to actually still sell Close-up toothpaste, as I have found it on Amazon. When I bought it - I am sure that none of the toothpastes had fluoride in though.

It looks as though it was first introduced in the US in the 1960's as I found a retro advert:

According to the following site it is still the worst toothpaste for its abrasiveness ..

It's so great to hear this, as I was beginning to wonder if I was starting to blame every 'ill' on gluten - now I know that my sensitive aching teeth WAS down to this & it wasn't just my imagination or a co incidence that it started to clear up after I came off gluten. My dentist has also been telling me that my enamel is wearing very thin - now I know why! Phew....I wasn't going mad!

my teeth are really sensitive - I have to drink tap water ( not left to run) with straw to stop it touching my back teeth, I also have to keep changing toothpastes--- not even able to finish a tube before my lips start to swell and the roof of my mouth gets massive "blisters". At present I am cycling 4 different brands

has anyone tried the pastes with baking soda in and had your moouth feel like it is going to explode?

I also cannot use mouthwashes with alcohol in as it burns ( same as oranges and walnuts!!!!)

in reply to 1stgls

I have been advised by someone that fresh sage is supposed to reduce sensitivity. As yet I have not looked up to see if there is more information on this. I know that sage does kill off germs in the mouth and has been used as a mouth saviour for thousands of years. So I will check to see if I can find more information on reduction of sensitivity. Might even start chewing the leaves myself - if I can't find any factual information on it .. I have a little sage bush/shrub in the garden!

in reply to 1stgls

See my post below - but I'd consider trying sensodyne because it contains strontium which is proven to be really good for building up bone in osteoporosis, and teeth problems in coeliac disease are the same kind of problem.

my teeth were very sensitive and started to chip and crumble, and started to fall out, I lost all my teeth, and now have false, but sometimes I feel the roof of my mouth burning, and often have a funny metalic taste in my mouth. I have been GF for almost 12 years and I wonder if this ever goes.

I've used sage for years for toothache/mouth ulcers etc. just pluck and rinse a few young leaves and chew like gum. really numbs everything and has a lovely taste. my teeth were very sensitive and I've lost 1 tooth and two bits, but nearly 4 years GF and they are no problem now.

I've only got a few of my natural teeth left too, because they just crumbled and broke until there was too little left to do anything with - of course this was more than 10 years ago before they were doing implants and stuff regularly. It also took more than 20 years of malabsorption problems before I got my diagnosis of coeliac disease so I had a lot of time to do damage.

I still have some sensitivity and weak enamel on the teeth I have left. My dentist did prescribe high fluoride toothpaste for a while, but actually sensodyne is every bit as good - it has strontium in it, which has been proven to be really good for osteoporosis, so its quite understandable that it would help make teeth stronger too.

I'd suggest to anyone with coeliac who has problems with sensitive teeth to try either sensodyne (or any similar toothpaste with strontium) or ask their dentist about high fluoride toothpastes. The prescribed ones are a lot stronger than anything you can buy over the counter.

in reply to earthwitch

I have found Sensodyne quite good. The best toothpaste that I ever had that cleared up every piece of sensitivity, whilst I could get it was Macleans Sensitive. They no longer sell this product in the UK and I think it is because the active ingredient - or at least I am led to believe that the active ingredient that reversed sensitivity was 1.3% formalin which is of course is formaldahyde. If I'd have realised that at the time I would have been more than a little concerned about using it!!!!

I do try to find pastes that also contain some form of calcium and pro enamel which also help with sensitivity. Being perfectly honest the sensitivity in my teeth has become much worse now since using a so-called 'gluten free natural' toothpaste.

I try to find extra soft toothbrushes and have even bought baby and young children's toothbrushes - I also prefer small headed brushes and have around six different ones on the go at a time.

I am not overly keen on fluoride as we appear to have quite a lot in our tap water - it tastes repugnant and on occasion is very similar to drinking diluted TCP water. It is also disconcerting to see the current reports that claim that it lowers IQ.

Ha ha he he- lynxcat, just read your post on sage and have a mental image of you on your hands and knees grazing off your sage bush ;)

in reply to 1stgls

Lol!! It is probably the animal in me! ;)

Something else my dentist (who is actually really up on coeliac disease and what it can do to tooth enamel) stresses, is to "spit, not rinse". When you use a toothpaste like sensodyne you really want the active ingredients to stay as long as they can on your tooth surface. You don't need to use huge amounts - most folk use way too much toothpaste, but when you have brushed, just keep spitting until you have got rid of all of the frothy toothpaste. DON'T rinse your mouth, as your toothpaste won't be able to keep working. If you use too much to start with this will be hard, but if you just use a very small amount and let some of it stay on your teeth instead of washing it all away then it will work better, and be a whole lot cheaper (if you are using fairly expensive sensodyne).

From my reading about strontium, osteoporosis and demineralisation of teeth, I'd always now go for a toothpaste that contains strontium, rather than fluoride.

Hi Lynxcat

Read your comments about tooth sensitivity with interest and sympathy. Sensitive teeth are really horrid and painful. At the moment mine are in better shape than they have been for ages. I have been given an endless list of things that may help. After brushing your teeth use a sensitive toothpaste ie something like sensodyne pronamel or colgate sensitive and paint the paste on your teeth with your finger and leave to be absorbed. Also another product I have used is called GC toothmouse which you use under the same principle. I haven't used this since being diagnosed so I don't know if it's gluten free. Colgate do another sensitive toothpaste called duraphat 5000 and a less powerful version called duraphat 2500. They sell it at my dentist but you can also get it on prescripition if you pay for it. These are both very good. I hadn't thought about the flouride risks but for me getting rid of the toothache was more important.

Hope this helps.



Coeliac Disease is associated with teeth problems and enamel problems. A lot of dentists will recommend pro-enamel toothpaste to help repair the damage. Other sensitive toothpastes can help. In the UK all toothpastes are GF - abroad you may well need to read the ingredients.

Continual mouth/ teeth problems should always be checked by a dentist.

in reply to FionaGFG

Great to hear that all toothpastes in the UK are GF :)

Anyone with dental problems &/or coeliac &/or gluten sensitivity should get a Vit D tested and a DEXA bone scan - as they may have osteopenia &/or osteoporosis. In other words, the bones in your mouth, i.e. your teeth, may well be reflecting what's happening to the bones in your body i.e. your skeletion.

Missed this thread the first time around.

My daughter in her early teens was advised by her dentist that her tooth enamel was weak and to use the then 'new' enamel protection toothpastes, avoid fruit juices and fizzy drinks. Interestingly, she had always preferred to drink with a straw, no particular reason just liked it.

Later on when we realised that she may be coeliac and looked at the guidelines for diagnosis we realised that enamel defects are a sign. Shame the dentist didn't herself realise the full implications and when we discussed it she said that she had learned that acid reflux caused the damage. Shame we didn't question her rather than just take her recommended treatment.

When coeliac was finally diagnosed her Vit D was found to be deficient but her DEXA scan was fine.

Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing, and perhaps dentists may offer a first line in detection of general health and specifically coeliac. She may have had a diagnosis in her early teens rather than at 19.

Had she not caught the low Vit D early, she'd have gone on to have osteoporosis. She should keep an eye on her bones, because being coeliac impacts gluten-gut-bone-endocrine-thyroid. In my opinion, dentists should advise all patients with weak, poor teeth to do a Vit D test and a DEXA scan.

Fortunately, I suppose, other symptoms made us realise she may be coeliac and set out to find someone to believe her. I am most disappointed that the key factor was to find a GP to believe her. Her previous problems included anaemia, fainting, no periods, skin problems, bloating, lack of concentration etc etc. A lesser girl would have just accepted that there was nothing wrong. Her first anti-tTG antibody count was x12 normal limit. Now she can keep herself informed and try and make sure she is getting the right supervision.

in reply to Londinium

It happened to me - NHS misdiagnosed coeliac for many years. When they finally woke up (after i self diagnosed!) and I got a Dexa scan, i had osteopenia. I was gutted as i've been doing weight training for decades. The enamel on my teeth is affected too

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