August 3, 2018
It’s no surprise that eating disorders can cause health issues for you and your body, but did you know that the effects of eating disorders damages your mouth and teeth too? According to the American Dental Association, 10 million Americans are affected by serious eating disorders. Along with your overall health, your oral health can be influenced by diseases like anorexia and bulimia. For a lot of people suffering from eating disorders, their first time seeking help is from the dentist because of their noticeable dental issues caused by their disease. Keep reading to learn how eating disorders can affect your oral health negatively, and some steps you can take to achieve a healthier looking and feeling smile.
What is Bulimia and Anorexia?
Knowing the signs of these eating disorders can help you and your loved ones stay healthy. People who have anorexia have a fear of gaining weight or being fat, even when they’re underweight. They will limit food intake, exercise a lot, use laxatives, or make themselves vomit to get rid of excess weight.
Those with bulimia will overeat multiple times a week or day, usually with sweet or fattening foods. This uncontrollable urge will then cause them to make themselves vomit or use a diuretic to purge everything they’ve consumed. Some studies have shown that around 89% of those with bulimia show signs of teeth and mouth damage.
How Does Bulimia Affect My Oral Health?
Someone with bulimia engages in a cycle of binge eating and vomiting. The stomach acids that come up in vomit (that bad taste in your mouth) can erode tooth enamel when they come in contact with your teeth. This can cause decay, cavities, discoloration, and eventually tooth loss.
Because your teeth begin to look yellow, worn, or discolored, dentists are sometimes the first people to notice you may have an eating disorder. Cosmetic dentistry is a good option your dentist in Virginia Beach may recommend to help with deteriorated enamel or discoloration.
How Does Anorexia Affect My Oral Health?
In someone with anorexia, semi-starvation and poor diet deprives the body of the nutrients it needs to thrive. After not receiving enough calcium and strengthening nutrients, an anorexic person can develop osteoporosis which weakens the bones in the jaw to support teeth. This can lead to trouble with chewing, talking, and tooth loss.
What Can I Do to Help?
With both common eating disorders, it is vital to treat the underlying cause. Your dentist can help correct deteriorated enamel and discoloration to make your teeth look whiter and healthier, but they will not be able to treat the actual disorder. If you have an eating disorder or if any of the behavior described above sounds like something you or a loved one is going through, talk to your physician today.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Asra Javeed believes that every patient deserves the best care possible in a friendly and comfortable environment. She has state-of-the-art dental technology and uses her own experience to explain all your treatment options, so you can make an informed decision. She currently practices at Smile Care Family Dentistry, where she can be contacted through her website or by phone at (757) 498-6420 for any questions.
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