Eating Disorders and Your Oral Health

eating-disorderBoth anorexia and bulimia are serious eating disorders. They occur when men or women have an extreme fear of becoming overweight. Both conditions have implications for your teeth because your body is not getting the minerals, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients that are needed to maintain good oral health and good overall health.

Why Eating Disorders Lead To Poor Oral Health
In addition to causing severe malnutrition and organ failure, eating disorders that continue for several years will detrimentally affect your teeth, gums and jawbone integrity.

Those with bulimia force themselves to vomit frequently, which exposes their teeth to excessive amounts of erosive stomach acids. Enamel pitting, tooth decay and tooth loss inevitably occur, along with probable deterioration of the jawbone.

Other oral health problems caused by eating disorders include:
• Chronic halitosis
• Mouth/lip sores
• Dry mouth/cracked lips
• Bleeding gums (gingivitis)

For people with anorexia, vomiting is not the primary cause of poor oral health. Instead, malnutrition and the lack of vitamins and minerals essential to teeth and gum health is responsible for serious, often irreversible, oral health problems.

Improving Oral Health During Eating Disorder Recovery
Once someone suffering from an eating disorder starts seeking professional help and is on the road to recover, they can also start restoring their oral health to aid in the improvement of their self-esteem and physical health. There are steps they can take to reduce the damaging effects of acid on the gums and teeth during recovery.

These steps include:
• Rinsing mouth with fluoride mouth rinse or water immediately following exposure to stomach acid
• Brushing and flossing daily to lessen the chances of gum disease and enamel erosion
• Applying topical fluoride daily to prevent decay and promote tooth strength
• Using appliances such as mouth guards to prevent tooth wear

Contact Us Today
To ensure that your eating disorder has not affected your oral health, contact our office today to schedule your dental checkup at 203-612-5529.

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