According to the National Eating Disorders Association, eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia are very common problems in the United States, with over 10 million people affected every year. The disorders are mostly seen among young adult women and teenage girls. Eating disorders affect your physical health, but also your psychological and oral health.
If you suspect you have an eating disorder, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional soon. An eating disorder can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Most people do not notice the dental damage an ED can cause before it is too late. Consult with a dentist in Tukwila, WA, to know more.
How do eating disorders damage your teeth?
Dentists are experts in their field and are often able to identify the signs of an ED by examining a patient’s mouth. A patient suffering from bulimia may vomit frequently. Because the stomach acids keep coming up to the patient’s mouth, they can wear down the enamel of the teeth and weaken it, causing various dental problems like tooth sensitivity and tooth decay.
When patients suffer from Anorexia, they do not intake enough food or enough nutritious food, which causes them to become underweight. Since they do not consume enough important nutrients that the body needs, they may have a weakened jaw bone, which also weakens the teeth and leads to tooth loss.
Purging, or the act of emptying the stomach via vomiting, can cause cuts and scratches inside the mouth. When a dentist looks inside the patient’s mouth, they can instantly recognize what these scratches and cuts mean. They are considered a warning sign since healthy mouths do not consist of such injuries.
Frequent binge eating and purging can enlarge your salivary glands, so much so that it becomes visible to others.
Multiple social, physical, and emotional factors play a role in the development of eating disorders. Your family and friends can help you by offering support and setting good examples about healthy eating. Eating disorders stem from deeper issues that cannot be read from the surface just by talking to the person. It is important to seek professional mental health help.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, it is important to understand how it might impact your oral health. Be mindful of your eating practices and maintain good oral hygiene. If you vomit, rinse your mouth with water immediately to avoid the stomach acids from hurting your teeth.