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, causing cavities, discoloration and tooth loss.

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 teeth, leading to tooth loss.

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 physician.

11/15/2010

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