What Eating Disorders Can do to Your Teeth

Mar 14th, 2010
Easton Dentists Mar 1st, 2017

It’s no secret that disordered eating to avoid weight gain is a bad idea. Americans are well aware of the fact that eating disorders exist in this country and that the rates of these disorders are ever increasing. Studies show that 0.5-2.0% of adolescents and young adult women have some form of anorexia nervosa/bulimia. Eating disorders can wreck havoc on the human body, causing stomach problems, heart problems, malnutriton, plus dental disease.

Rampant decay

Anorexics and bulimics are prone to widespread cavities over a short period of time. Those who binge on high-calorie, high-carb foods, and then purge run the greatest risk of decay. The sugar in the foods set up an acid-attack on the enamel, while the act of purging bathes the teeth in hydrochloric acid from the stomach, contributing to decay, as well as eroding teeth and fillings. A chronic bulimic will need numerous fillings on a regular basis and will have eroded enamel on the tongue-side of the teeth.

Soft tissue damage

Due to repeated vomiting, anorexics and bulimics may have severely swollen tonsils or soft palate. Some people may suffer a swelling and redness of the tongue and the palate may have lacerations from fingernails used to induce vomiting.

Care

First and foremost, if you suffer from an eating disorder, seek professional help immediately. Eating disorders can have fatal consequences. Secondly, let your dental hygienist know about your eating disorder in order to insure proper treatment.

Anorexics and bulimics MUST use scrupulous homecare in order to keep their teeth. Extra brushing, flossing, and possible at-home fluoride treatments may be necessary, plus you may also require additional cleaning visits throughout the year.