When you have an eating disorder, it is harmful to your body and mind in ways that you can't or might not even begin to consider, such as the severe damage it takes on your teeth and overall oral health. Most eating disorders have a varying effect on your oral health and that can result in anything from tooth decay and dry mouth to damage to your soft palate and so much more.
The Effects of Purging on Your Teeth
Purging as an eating disorder takes on many forms. However, for this purpose the disorder is when someone causes themselves to vomit. This leads to severe enamel loss, discoloration, tooth erosion, and general all around weakening of the teeth, not to mention other damages. Why does it have such a negative effect? When you purge it means that your stomach acid is coming into contact with your teeth on a more than regular basis. This makes your teeth weak and brittle. You are also at a very high risk of soft tissue damage. This means the gums in your mouth are going to be damaged. Even the back of your throat will show visible signs of vomiting. This is often what our dentist sees as the red flag who they may already suspect is struggling with a purge eating disorder. In addition, purging leads to getting dehydrated. This causes dry mouth along with cracked lips and gums.
Oral Health and Restriction
Restriction is often associated with several eating disorders, but more so with anorexia nervosa than any other. If you suffer from anorexia nervosa, you often get extremely malnourished, which can lead to many oral and overall concerns. Malnutrition results again, in tooth decay and in gum disease. You will be lacking in iron and be iron deficient, which generally leads to sores in your mouth and the shocking lack of vitamin B3 causes extreme bad breath and the development of very painful canker sores. If our dentist should approach you about these specific oral health issues and addresses the possibility of you having an eating disorder. Please consider being completely honest with us and seek much needed support from our office – don't miss the opportunity for the intervention we can offer to be the step you need to take toward recovery. If you or someone you might know feels that they may be experiencing severe oral health issues due to an eating disorder, please call our office immediately. We will get you in to speak with our dentist as soon as possible to assess the help you need.