Purging and Starving – Anorexia and Bulimia Effects on Teeth
If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, you face a number of serious health risks. Although these illnesses are known for producing life-threatening medical problems, they can also destroy your oral health. In fact, signs of dental damage may appear as soon as six months after the onset of an eating disorder. If you are bulimic, the primary cause of your dental problems is stomach acids frequently washing over your teeth as you vomit. The powerful acids cause acid erosion on teeth and lead to cavities, discoloration, and sensitivity to hot and cold. If you have anorexia, osteoporosis can weaken the bones that support your teeth. Either condition can cause tooth loss.
What Are the Anorexia and Bulimia Effects on Teeth?
Because bulimia effects on teeth develop early in the course of the illness, dental professionals are often the first people to suspect the presence of an eating disorder. Bulimic teeth typically feature a worn appearance and yellow discoloration. Acid erosion on teeth may also cause enamel to chip or crack more easily. Anorexia may manifest as dental decay, receding gums, or loose teeth. Other oral symptoms of eating disorders include mouth sores, cracked or dry lips, bleeding gums, chronic dry mouth, enlarged salivary glands, and bad breath.
How Can I Manage Anorexic and Bulimic Teeth Problems?
The first and most important step to managing oral health problems related to eating disorders is to address their underlying cause. If you suspect that you have anorexia or bulimia, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible, so you can recover before permanent health damage occurs. During your recovery process, you can minimize damage caused by unhealthy behaviors such as self-induced vomiting. To lessen the risk of acid erosion on teeth, wait at least an hour after vomiting to brush. Instead of brushing immediately, rinse your mouth with a baking soda and water solution to help neutralize acid. If you are not eating enough food to nourish your body, talk to your physician about supplementation or behavioral therapy. Once your eating disorder is under control, cosmetic dentistry can correct unsightly anorexic or bulimic teeth damage that may have already occurred.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Allentown, call Gentle Dental of Allentown today at (610) 616-3593 or make an appointment.
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