Early detection could be noted in dental enamel defects By Christopher Friesen According to a study1 published in 1989, people with celiac disease (CD) have a higher risk of developing oral cancer if they are not on a gluten-free diet. If dental professionals know more about celiac disease, and how this illness affects the entire person, including the mouth, they can help in its early detection, and possibly help their patients avoid years of suffering. When Connecticut-based dentist Dr. Ted Malahias's wife and daughter were diagnosed with celiac disease, their pediatric gastroenterologist asked to see his daughter's teeth. Dr. Malahias knew diseases of the digestive system could manifest with symptoms in the mouth, but a link between CD and problems with teeth was new to him. Wanting to know more, he looked for research that might explain the connection. It wasn't easy to find. The North American medical establishment is not as knowledgeable about CD as other medical establishments in the world. There were several European studies that had linked dental enamel defects to celiac disease -- that's how his daughter's doctor had known to check her teeth. CD is much better understood in Europe and other parts of the world than in the U.S.