A Japanese woman recently had a very strange reaction to dental work, a case report says.
After getting fillings the woman broke out in a rash. It could be seen on her hands and feet, and a dermatologist prescribed a skin ointment to alleviate the patient’s symptoms. When the ointment didn’t treat the rashes, the woman consulted a metal allergy expert. That’s when it became clear that the woman’s dental treatment coincided with her skin allergy symptoms.
So what was the cause of the rashes? Eczema, caused by an allergic reaction to the fillings the woman had received.
Why metal in your mouth can cause a rash on your feet
When we heard about this woman’s story, we had to know: How does this happen? Nickel allergies can result in dermatitis—meaning red, inflamed skin. “Atopic” dermatitis, which is just another name for eczema, refers to a person’s genetic tendency to develop allergic disease.
Metal allergic reactions occur not only in the mouth, but in the extremities of the body and on the skin, the authors of the case report point out. That’s how a filling in the mouth can cause a rash on the feet.
Eczema commonly affects children but can strike at any age. Atopic dermatitis is chronic, meaning it lasts a long time. Additionally, sometimes hay fever or asthma accompany eczema.
There isn’t a cure for atopic dermatitis, but some treatments can alleviate itching caused by the condition. Certain lifestyle choices can help people with eczema. For example, avoiding harsh soaps, regularly moisturizing, and applying medicated ointments or creams can help.
Eczema symptoms can include severe itching that might be especially bad at night; dry skin; raised bumps, which can leak fluid when scratched; scaly, cracked skin; and swollen, raw skin. The condition can cause “red to brownish-gray” patches, Mayo Clinic says. These can occur on the feet, hands, wrists, ankles, upper chest, neck, eyelids, and insides of the bends of the knees and elbows. An infant can have these patches on their scalp and face.
The cause of eczema is related to a variation in a gene that disrupts the skin’s ability to protect you from allergens, irritants, and bacteria. The variation creates opportunities for the skin to be harmed by allergens and irritants. For some children, eczema can be caused partially by food allergies, Mayo Clinic says.
Fortunately, the patient featured in the case report got better once doctors figured out what was causing her eczema. For treatment, the metal components were replaced with metal-free materials. “When we removed the original metal prosthesis in the mouth, the patient’s condition gradually improved,” the case report says.
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