Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Dental infections and the inflammation they cause are bad enough when they just effect the teeth. But for anyone dealing with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, they increase the risk of serious complications.

Cavities and gum diseases are infections caused by bacteria.
The germs can get into the blood stream and travel throughout the body. That happens more easily when our ability to fight infections is reduced by some medications used to manage Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, such as steroids, Imuran, Methotrexate, Remicade, Humira, and Entyvio. These drugs instruct users to “tell your doctor if you have any infections.”

If you have cavities and/or gum diseases, you have infections!
Dental cavities and gum diseases need to be treated. Better yet, most can be prevented.

Mouth Sores

While Ulcerative Colitis affects the lower end of the digestive system, Crohn’s can involve all parts of it, beginning in the mouth. Frequently, when symptoms flare up “down below,” sores and inflammation will develop in the mouth.

Should that become a pattern, talk to your physician and dentist about pain-relieving gels that can be put on the ulcers. Also ask about rinses such as Peroxyl, both to relieve discomfort and to help prevent infection of the sores. That is particularly important because if the sores do become infected, and the immune system is “quieted” by drugs to control IBD symptoms, the bacteria can spread and cause more problems.

Gum Disease

Since Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis can cause severe inflammation, the risk for inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease is greater. Making matters somewhat worse, longterm use of some IBD drugs, especially prednisone, can weaken bone. The damage caused by gum disease to the bone anchoring teeth can quickly become more severe.


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This information is a public service of the Dental Lifeline Network. The content is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for the medical advice of one’s health care provider.




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