Monday, November 9, 2009

Canker Sores and Children: It Might Be Celiac or Gluten

My daughter and husband both had canker sores inside their mouths before going gluten free. When I read the book Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic by Dr. Peter Green I discovered this is a common reoccurring symptom of celiac.

Dr. Green's book says that many people with celiac have had frequent canker sores as a child. Often it is a vivid, early memory that people with celiac have from childhood. My daughter, when she was a toddler, used to call them "cold cuts." We thought it was a tendency she inherited, because her father had them too. They disappeared on a gluten free diet for both my husband and daughter.

Interestingly, according to an article in the journal BMC Gastroenterology by Dr. Farhad Shahram, a researcher at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran "It has been reported that in five percent of celiac disease patients, aphthous stomatitis [persistent canker sores or open ulcers] may be the sole manifestation of the disease."

If a child or adult has chronic canker sores in his or her mouth, I would recommend a test for celiac disease be done before trying a gluten free diet. Ideally, genetic tests would also be done, which would indicate whether celiac disease is a possibility. Once testing has been completed, it might be useful to try a gluten free diet to see if the canker sores clear up. If they clear up on a gluten free diet, but reappear upon introduction of gluten then gluten intolerance might be a factor.

Canker sores in someone who is already on a gluten free diet might indicate they are being exposed to gluten. Alternatively, sores might indicate vitamin deficiencies.

The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract so problems in the mouth can sometimes be an indication of more serious problems inside the gastrointestinal tract. If your child has other developmental issues in addition to canker sores, paying attention to this small symptom as a possible sign of celiac or gluten intolerance might shed some light on what is driving the developmental problems.


Sherri said...

Wow! Thanks for posting this. I remember as a little girl myself having canker sores weekly. I have been wondering if I am the carrier for Celiacs since my son has it. I keep debating on weather or not to get tested. We are already on a GFCF egg, soy, corn, and pea free diet so not sure if anything else would show.

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xyz said...

“Since the implementation of the "Back to Sleep" campaign, therapists are seeing increasing numbers of kindergarten-aged children who are unable to hold a pencil.”
Susan Syron, Pediatric Physical Therapist

“There are indications of a rapidly growing population of infants who show developmental abnormalities as a result of prolonged exposure to the supine position.”
Dr. Ralph Pelligra regarding the impact of the Back to Sleep Campaign

The Back to Sleep Program causes the following in infants who sleep supine compared to infants who sleep in the prone position:
- Supine Sleep causes increased rates of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) (Corvaglia, 2007)
- Social skills delays at 6 months (Dewey, Fleming, et al, 1998)
- Motor skills delays at 6 months (Dewey, Fleming, et al, 1998)
- Milestone delays (Davis, Moon, et al., 1998)
- 1 in 12 infants now have plagiocephaly compared to 1 in 300 in 1974 (Siatkowski, Fortney, et al., 2005)
- 10% of children with deformational plagiocephaly have mild to severe mental delay (Kordestani, Patel, et al., 2006)
- 26% of infants with deformational plagiocephaly have mild to severe psychomotor delay (Kordestani, Patel, et al., 2006)

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Stacy said...

I had a lot of vague symptoms of celiac disease, but when I realized that canker sores were one of them, I just knew I had it, and confirmed it through testing. I used to get them all the time. Now I only get them after accidental gluten injestion.

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KellyC said...

I know this is an old post, but I just came across it.

When I gave up gluten/wheat, my LIFELONG problem with canker sores vanished. I was seriously plagued from childhood through adulthood with them, and almost always had one somewhere.
I do not miss them, and I will never knowingly eat wheat or gluten of any kind again. I've been GF for several years now.

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