Malnutrition And Overall Health
Eating disorders are a group of psychological disorders that can have a devastating impact on the mental, physical, and emotional health of those who suffer from them. No system in the body is spared, and that includes oral health. That’s why we want to educate our patients on the dangers of eating disorders and encourage anyone suffering from one to seek help returning to healthy eating habits.
Anorexia: Starving The Oral Tissues
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by extremely restricted food intake, and may also involve purging and compulsive exercising. The main risk to oral health with anorexia is malnutrition. Insufficient nutrients can result in osteoporosis, which weakens the jaw bones, leading to tooth loss. The gums may also bleed easily, and the salivary glands may swell up and produce insufficient saliva, resulting in dry mouth.
Bulimia: Stomach Acid Versus Teeth
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by periods of overeating (binging) followed by forced elimination of food through vomiting or laxatives (purging). Frequent vomiting exposes the teeth to stomach acid on a regular basis, which erodes the protective layer of enamel and can lead to discoloration, decay, and even tooth loss.
Watch this video to see bulimia’s effects on teeth, as well as how dentist’s can help:
Preventing Additional Damage
Maintaining a good dental hygiene regimen is an important part of keeping teeth and oral tissues healthy in any circumstance, but particularly while recovering from an eating disorder. One important caution to take if your teeth have been exposed to acid (whether from acidic food and drink or from regurgitated stomach acid) is to wait thirty minutes to brush. Immediately after acid exposure, tooth enamel is weaker and can be scrubbed away by brushing, so it’s better to rinse with water and wait to brush.
The Road To Recovery
Eating disorders are very serious, and recovery is about getting the right help — from supportive friends and family as well as licensed psychologists. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, a good first step on the road to recovery would be contacting the National Eating Disorders Helpline. The dentist also plays a role in minimizing and repairing the damage from malnutrition and acid erosion, so make sure to schedule an appointment.
Your overall health and wellness are important to us!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
1/10/2019 09:56:01 pm
I felt scared when you said that a person with bulimia can result in osteoporosis and tooth loss. If anyone of my friends or relatives got this eating disorder, my first step would be to find a treatment center. That way, they can eat normally again and regain their vitality too.
12/28/2021 12:29:51 am
Thanks for pointing out that eating disorders are very serious and recovery is about getting the right help from supportive friends and family. My husband has had an eating disorder since the pandemic started and we do not know what to do. We are hoping to find an eating disorder treatment program on Monday that can help him recover so he can get back to his daily activities.
1/18/2022 12:05:47 am
Your Blog Content is really incredible & helpful for persons who are suffering from eating disorders. This article aware many peoples regarding eating disorders like Orthorexia, Anorexia, Bulimia. Like Eatwell Health Centre which is a Canada-based eating disorder treatment centre that aware many persons regarding eating disorders & help the persons to recover from the disorder. You can explore our services at our official online portal & know more about our eating disorder treatment.
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