Crohn's Disease is labelled as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but it can affect any part of your digestive tract from your mouth to your anus. It can also cause extra-intestinal symptoms such as arthritis, osteoporosis and dermatitis.

People with Crohn's disease don't always understand the importance of regular dental check-ups with a dentist who has experience of treating patients with IBD. A good dentist is an invaluable addition to your medical care team. Here's an overview of the signs of Crohn's disease your dentist can identify.

Oral Signs Of Crohn's Disease

Changes in your mouth can indicate your Crohn's is not under control and could provide an early warning that you're heading for a flare-up. If your dentist mentions any of the following signs of Crohn's disease, contact your gastroenterologist:

  • Small ulcers that look like canker sores, but may actually be oral Crohn's disease.
  • Inflamed lips with or without redness and flaking skin.
  • Recurrent abscesses
  • Dry mouth and bad breath
  • Inflamed tongue

Oral Signs of Malabsorption

Active Crohn's disease or bowel resection surgery for Crohn's can cause chronic diarrhoea and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, both of which can lead to malabsorption. You may not be aware that your gut is not absorbing some nutrients effectively, but your dentist can spot the following signs:

  • A tongue that's red and sore or shiny can indicate you're deficient in folic acid.
  • Oral thrush can point to a zinc deficiency.
  • White patches in your mouth can result from vitamin A deficiency.
  • Sore and peeling gums may mean you're sort on vitamin B3.
  • Bleeding gums can be a sign of vitamin K deficiency.

Malabsorption can have a negative impact on your overall health, so discuss your dentist's findings with a dietician specialising in IBD and intestinal failure.

Changes that Can Occur in Your Mouth Due to IBD Medications

Some common medications for Crohn's disease can have oral side effects. These side effects can be minor and manageable, but some can impact on your long-term oral health. You should let your dentist know about any medications you are taking, so they can look out for side effects.

Ensure your dentist knows you have Crohn's disease and update them with any changes to your medications. This will allow them to give you best care possible and they may be able to make you aware of potential problems before you start noticing any symptoms. For more tips and suggestions, contact local resources such as Precision Dental Care @ Kingston.