Orofacial Crohn Disease in Children
Say Crohn disease and most people think of gastrointestinal issues, not oral problems. But orofacial Crohn disease is a specific disorder, associated with Crohn disease of the bowel, frequently found in children. It may occur simultaneously with bowel symptoms, or it may precede them, usually by a few months.
The connection between the two is unclear. Experts think the inflammation from “traditional” Crohn disease may be a possible factor. Other possible causes include immunity problems, infections and nutritional deficiencies.
Signs of orofacial Crohn disease include swollen or bleeding gums, mouth sores, lip swelling, and ulcers in the fold between the cheek and gum. Facial skin may be affected by ulcers, nodules or persistent swelling. Topical anti-inflammatory agents and an antibacterial mouth rinse can often ease the discomfort of mouth and gum soreness.
Sometimes the signs of orofacial Crohn disease are not troublesome, so children and parents may be unaware of them. However, in many cases, symptoms can cause pain when affected areas are touched, discomfort when eating spicy or acidic food, and difficulty eating, speaking or swallowing. Children may also become self-conscious if their facial appearance has been affected.
If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with KiDDS Dental for an evaluation. Ultimately, we may take a biopsy to determine whether bowel disease is present, and we may prescribe steroids for the inflammation. Fortunately, the symptoms of orofacial Crohn disease generally resolve once the bowel disease has been treated.
Always make sure your child’s diet is rich in nutrients. Crohn disease can prevent the digestive tract from absorbing enough vitamins from food to maintain nutritional balance. Dr. Jared may suggest consulting a dietician to help plan your child’s meals for maximum nutrition. Limit greasy or fried foods, and be sure your child drinks enough water to stay hydrated.
If your child complains of soreness in the mouth, bring him or her in to see us. We can discuss options to relieve your child’s symptoms and minimize flare-ups of orofacial Crohn disease.
If you have further questions regarding the affects of Crohns Disease on oral health, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.