Eating Disorders and Oral Health Problems

What oral health problems are associated with eating disorders?

Anorexia and bulimia can damage your teeth in several ways.

A bulimic individual engages in a cycle of binge eating and vomiting. The stomach acids in the vomit pass through the mouth and can erode tooth enamel. This process causes loss of tooth tissue and discolouration.

Since teeth appear worn and yellow, a dentist may be the first to notice signs of this eating disorder. Cosmetic dentistry can help correct deteriorated tooth enamel.

In anorexia, semi-starvation deprives the body of the nutrients it needs. Osteoporosis can develop, weakening the bones in the jaw that support the teeth.

In both diseases, it is critical to treat the underlying causes that lead to anorexia and bulimia as well as the dental complications resulting from them. While a dentist can correct the deteriorated tooth enamel, he or she cannot treat the actual eating disorder. Should you have an eating disorder, or think you might, talk to your doctor.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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