The prevalence of celiac disease (CeD) has increased in the last decades, suggesting a role for environmental factors in addition to gluten. Several cohort studies have shown that different gastrointestinal infections increase CeD risk. However, the mechanisms by which microbes participate in CeD have remained elusive. Recently, with the use of animal models, both viral and bacterial opportunistic pathogens were shown to induce immune activation relevant for CeD. The hypothesis that viral and/or bacterial infections can contribute to immune activation and breakdown of tolerance toward gluten in genetically susceptible individuals is therefore reinforced. Here, we discuss the evidence regarding the role of microbes in promoting CeD and the specific pathways triggered by microbes that could participate in CeD pathogenesis. Understanding these pathways will allow us to develop optimal microbiota-modulating strategies to help prevent CeD.