Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract. It belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) which occur when the immune system attacks healthy cells in the digestive tract.
The disease causes inflammation all along the GI tract, from the mouth to the digestive organs. Although there is no cure, dental professionals can help patients manage the oral manifestations of Crohn’s disease through medications, supplements and oral hygiene care.
Patients can experience several oral manifestations of Crohn’s disease. Some are directly related to the disease itself, while others are side effects of medications they take to manage the disease.
Common oral manifestations include:
Not every case of Crohn’s will present in the same way. Each patient will require different treatment.
Although experts still don’t fully understand the relationship between Crohn’s disease and its impact on oral healthful, the connection is likely due to large amounts of inflammation.
There are several different forms of treatment for the oral manifestations of Crohn’s disease. Doctors typically prescribe a topical steroid, hydrocortisone ointments, vitamin supplements such as Vitamin B12, Calcium or Folate, recommend dry mouth products, and increased oral hygiene care.
Dentists and registered dental hygienists can provide hygiene instruction to patients with Crohn’s disease based on the individual’s needs and symptoms.
Crohn’s disease can be treated in a variety of ways. However, there is no cure for the disease. There are a variety of medications that can be prescribed, but at times, the side effects of these medications have their own risk factors.
Most people who take medication to help control Crohn’s disease typically end up needing surgery to help with symptoms.