How Eating Disorders Affect Oral Health

The Placerville Dental Group believes that diet is important to having a healthy smile. That is why we encourage all our patients to eat a well-balanced diet for the best health and well-being. Sadly though, more than ten million Americans suffer from eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Dentists often diagnose eating disorders because of the negative consequences they see on the teeth.

Dental Consequences of Eating Disorders

When the body does not get proper nutrition — either due to binging, starving or purging — the gums and other mouth tissues bleed more easily. Saliva glands may also stop producing enough saliva to keep mouth tissues moist, causing chronic dry mouth. Both of these problems result in bad breath (halitosis) and begin the damaging cycle of tooth decay, gum disease and recession.

Vomiting practiced by bulimics unfortunately wears down tooth enamel, the molars suffering the most damage. This loss of enamel causes teeth to discolor, change shape and become sensitive. Teeth exposed to stomach acid on a regular basis also chip and break more easily.

Fighting the Dental Side Effects of Eating Disorders

These suggestions will help slow down oral decay:

  • Maintain a daily oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing.
  • If you’ve vomited, do not brush your teeth to clean them right away. Rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water to help neutralize the effects of the stomach acid on your teeth. Then brush 30 minutes later.
  • Consult with your dentist about your eating disorder and certainly with your medical doctor as soon as possible to receive correct care.
  • See your Placerville dentists regularly for exams and cleanings. If restorations are necessary to save your teeth, the earlier a tooth is fixed, the less repair it usually requires.

Untreated eating disorders not only affect your emotional well-being, but also your physical and dental health. The caring and non-judgmental staff at the Placerville Dental Group is here to support our patients while improving and maintaining their teeth. Come see us at our local Placerville location for complete dental care and get on the road to a lifetime of good oral health.


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