ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION as many as 10 million Americans are affected by serious eating disorders such as binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia.
Most of you are probably somewhat familiar with these disorders and their dangerous health consequences. However, what you may not know are the many ways these disorders can harm your teeth and gums.
The Nutritional Component
Most people who are having difficulty with anorexia or bulimia are undernourished to some extent. One of the early oral signs of undernourishment is that gums and other soft tissue inside one’s mouth may bleed easily. Saliva glands may also swell and the person may experience chronic dry mouth. This condition can lead to a lot of oral health problems.
The Acidic Component
As you know, stomach acids are extremely strong. If people having difficulty with anorexia or bulimia force themselves to throw up, that stomach acid repeatedly flows over their teeth which damages the enamel and can change the shape, color, and length of their teeth. The acid also makes teeth more brittle which makes them more prone to chip and break off near the edges.
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Your Healthy Smile (And Overall Health) Are Worth It
Here at our practice, we deeply care about the well being of every one of you—our valued patients and friends. If you or someone you love is struggling with one or more of these disorders, get help soon.
Eating disorders are complex and arise from a variety of emotional, physical, and social issues. But there’s help out there—and as is the case with most such problems, early diagnosis and intervention can greatly improve opportunities for recovery.
A Temporary Help
While in the process of getting help to overcome these problems, if you suffer from eating disorders be sure to do all you can to minimize the damage to your teeth and gums. Continue to maintain meticulous oral health care related to brushing and flossing. And if you throw up, do NOT brush your teeth immediately after—but instead, rinse your mouth with baking soda to help neutralize the effects of the stomach acid. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, seek help right away.
Questions For Us?
True… We’re not psychologists. But, we DO care about your overall health as much as we do about your teeth. If we can ever help in any way, please contact us. You can ask questions below in the comments section, and you can also send us a private direct message on our Facebook page.