Eating Disorders And Oral Health
Eating disorders, such as bulimia, can have an effect on one’s entire body. But between the vomiting and the extreme dietary and nutritional deficiencies of eating disorders, bulimia sufferers experience many problems when it comes to their oral and dental health. In fact, according to the National Eating Disorder Association, almost 90% of all bulimic patients experience dental issues such as tooth erosion due to the excessive amounts of stomach acid that resides on the teeth.
Bulimia is an eating disorder which causes individuals to binge (eat large amounts of food in a short period of time) and purge (vomit). The “reasoning” behind this, from a bulimic’s psychological point of view, is that they are able to enjoy high-calorie foods, but can eliminate the calories out of their body by throwing up what they ate. This rids the body of its nutritional needs, and the effects of binging and purging can affect an individual’s body both inside and out.
Dentists are typically the first to notice the signs of bulimia, since the symptoms of the disorder can be found in tell-tale signs in the mouth. Stomach acid from vomiting can cause a loss of tissue, lesions, discoloration of teeth, and tooth decay. It can even cause teeth to become translucent, brittle, and weak because of the consequences of purging. Dentists are trained to spot signs of eating disorders such as bulimia, and can assist you in taking control of your oral health.
In addition to receiving psychological assistance when dealing with eating disorders such as bulimia, it is also a good idea to talk to Dr. Greenberg about assisting you in improving your dental health and hygiene while seeking treatment. Having a beautiful smile and seeing what healthy behaviors can do for you and your oral health is essential for effective and successful treatment of bulimia and other eating disorders.Back to Dental Library Page