Dental Signs of Eating Disorders
The link between overall health and dental health is so strong that many times symptoms of medical conditions will first present themselves in the mouth. This is especially true with eating disorders.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the two most common eating disorders. In addition to those suffering intentionally depriving themselves of food, these disorders can also be characterized by binge eating, purging, and self-induced vomiting. These behaviors can be particularly damaging to dental health.
Not getting enough nutrients can cause mouth ulcerations, tongue inflammation, dry mouth, and fungal infections. The acids in vomit can cause the enamel of the teeth to wear down at an alarming rate. Many people suffering from an eating disorder will try to hide the fact that they threw up by brushing their teeth right away. Since the acid weakens the enamel, brushing after vomiting can actually cause more enamel to be brushed away. These acids can also cause a person suffering from an eating disorder to not heal as well from injuries to the mouth, and leave them more vulnerable to gum disease. Unfortunately, it is also common to experience a burning sensation in the mouth. Dentists are highly trained to watch out for these tell-tales signs, and are often the first medical professionals to diagnose somebody with an eating disorder.
In order to restore dental and overall health as quickly as possible, our dentists recommend treating the underlying causes of the eating disorder. Getting the necessary help is important, because issues like gum disease and tooth infections can cause serious complications to your overall health. In addition, your body requires nutrients in order to heal and fight infections.
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