Eating Disorders and your Oral Health

Caring For Your Teeth

You may notice when you visit your Dentist or Hygienist that you are questioned regarding your medical history. We have to update your records at every visit as any change regarding your health or medications taken, could have an impact on your oral health and may help us understand any possible changes to your mouth.

Medical conditions such as eating disorders can have a huge impact on your teeth and gums.  These conditions include Anorexia, Bulimia and binge eating.  Anyone at any age can suffer from these conditions, but they are most common in teenagers and women.

To ensure your gums stay healthy it is important to have a diet rich in vitamins and minerals.  If your body is not getting these nutrients then you may find your gums and other soft tissues bleed easily.  Your mouth may become dry due to the glands that produce saliva becoming swollen, this is especially more common in those with Bulimia.  Saliva is of a huge importance as it helps keep the teeth clean and plays a part in the prevention of decay.

 

Disorders such as Bulimia has more of an impact on your teeth.  Frequent vomiting exposes your teeth to strong stomach acid which will gradually start to erode them.  Your teeth will change colour and become sensitive.

How to protect your teeth

Eating Disorders are not easily overcome and treatment is an on going process but there are things you can do to help protect your teeth.

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day using a small headed brush and a fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Remember to use interdental brushes or floss to clean in between the teeth.
  3. Use a fluoride mouth wash daily to help strengthen the teeth.
  4. Rinse your mouth with water following an episode of vomiting.  Do not brush your teeth as your enamel is soft due to the stomach acid, so brushing will remove some of the enamel.
  5. After bingeing on sugary foods or drinks, rinse your mouth with water.  Wait at least an hour before you brush your teeth.

 

Unfortunately your teeth will eventually receive some form of damage from an eating disorder and carrying out the above will only protect them for a limited period of time.  Seeing your Doctor is the first step on your road to recovery and it is important you see a dentist regularly.  Professional guidance can help you keep your teeth.