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CROHN'S DISEASE AND ORAL 
HEALTH CARE

Oral affects of Crohn's disease

      Crohn's disease is a disease of the bowel that can affect any part of the GI tract.  It is common is white ethnic groups and smokers between the ages of 15-30 and 60-80. Lesions of  inflammation penetrate the layers of the ileocecal walls of the intestinal tract.  As the disease progresses, narrowing of the lumen causes obstruction and malabsorption.  The oral cavity may exhibit signs such as 
bulletoral ulcerations
bulletswelling of the lips and mucosa
bulletgranulomas
bulletfolded, cobble stoned of the buccal and palatal mucosa
bulletangular cheilitis
bulletglossitis
bulletgingival hyperplasia

      Treatment goals are to control inflammation and relieve symptoms which includes medications, nutritional supplements, surgery.  Frequent dental visits are needed to prevent destruction of tissues, evaluation of the ability of the individual to undergo comprehensive dental treatment, and early diagnosis and treatment of lesions to avoid further complications.  Topical corticosteroids can be used for oral lesions.

     When they are taking immunosupressants, frequent, routine head and neck examinations are necessary to reduce the risk of lymphomas and infections.  Pain medications should not include aspirin or NSAIDS and should be arranged during the remission phase.

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