Acta Paediatr Suppl 1996 May;412:47-48

Martelossi S, Zanatta E, Del Santo E, Clarich P, Radovich P, Ventura A
Istituto di Clinica Pediatrica, Istituto per lInfanzia IRCCS Trieste, Italy. 12/18/2002 - Specific dental enamel defects (DEDs) in permanent teeth are frequently observed in celiac patients. We examined the permanent teeth in 6,949 secondary school children living in Trieste (78% of 8,724 children born between 1978 and 1982). Children with DEDs were tested for serum antigliadin antibodies (AGAs) and antiendomysium antibodies (AEAs), and those positive for serum AGAs and/or AEAs underwent intestinal biopsy. Specific DEDs were observed in 52 children (0.59% of the total population examined). Serum AGAs and/or AEAs were positive in 10 cases. Nine patients underwent intestinal biopsy (one refused) and in four cases a flat mucosa was documented (one with short stature, three completely asymptomatic).

The known incidence of celiac disease in the study area was 1:1,000 before the study program and 1:670 (an increase of 44%) after it. Dental enamel inspection may be utilized for detecting undiagnosed coeliac disease in symptom-free schoolchildren. This clinical test is probably less sensitive than serum AGA screening test, but deserves some consideration because it is cheap, easy to perform and well accepted by the population.

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