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CROHN’S DISEASE AND ORAL HEALTH:

Crohn’s disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, also referred to as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  Crohn’s disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum. The swelling extends deep into the lining of the affected organ, causing pain and frequent emptying of the intestines, resulting in diarrhea.

The oral cavity may exhibit signs such as:

Recurrent Oral Stomatitis - Inflammation of the mucous lining of any of the structures in the mouth, which may involve the cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, throat, and roof or floor of the mouth. The most common findings are:

DENTAL MANAGEMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

Meticulous oral hygiene including diligent brushing and flossing.

Professional teeth cleanings every 4-6 months.

High strength fluoride toothpaste (Prevident 5000) and fluoride rinse (ACT) if decay is problematic.

Systemic steroids or topical steroid treatment as needed to resolve oral symptoms and discomfort.

Healthy diet supplemented with vitamins and/or minerals as recommended by physician.

*** Because oral manifestations of Crohn's appear so often in advance of intestinal problems, it has been suggested that patients with oral symptoms typical of Crohn's be monitored for future gastrointestinal symptoms, so diagnosis and treatment can occur at the earliest possible stage of the disease.

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