How Eating Disorders Affect Teeth

Cheerful woman eating pie, over whiteThere are a lot of repercussions to the teeth in the mouth of a person battling eating disorders. Such negative effects could include the loss of teeth, gum problems and erosion of the enamel on the tongue side of the teeth due to the acids involved in bulimia. In addition, people with eating disorders lack nutrients that can result in osteoporosis, weakening of the bones in the jaw that support the teeth and this may lead to tooth loss. More so, many individuals with such disorders suffer from bleeding gums, burning of the tongue and dry mouth due to decreased salivary flow and swollen glands.

A dentist’s intervention should take place to treat any damaged teeth. Professional help is received when the dentist knows the patient’s background, particularly regarding an eating disorder, so it’s important to be honest about it.

Eating disorders are on the rise. There are two main kinds of eating disorders, namely, anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Attributed to the fear of gaining weight, people with anorexia nervosa are easily identified with sunken body mass. They usually look very pale, have loose skin and poor dental health. They deprive their body of nutrients which contributes to the reduction in saliva production, an essential process to keep our teeth clean. With dry mouth, cracked lips and eroded teeth, people with anorexia nervosa need a comprehensive dental treatment in order to regain oral health. With bulimia, a person usually goes on a food binge before using various methods to purge the food that has been eaten. Bulimics are at a high risk for tooth decay, tooth loss and gum disease that result from frequent vomiting. The gastric acids erode the enamel of the teeth.

Changes in the mouth are often a physical sign of eating disorders. Regular visits to the dentist would help prevent further damage to eroded teeth. Some treatment options such as crowns, composite bonding or veneers might be recommended to protect the enamel of the teeth from further breakdown.

For more information on dental issues and dental health, give our office a call at 212-481-2535. We look forward to speaking with you.


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