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How can eating disorders affect your mouth?

How can eating disorders affect your mouth?

Eating disorders are a serious health problem in today's society; however, most people suffer in silence. How do eating disorders affect your mouth? The telltale signs are obvious to a dental professional and can range from weak to severe. Often, the dentist will be the first person to identify disorders.

Types of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating. All three of these disorders have a negative effect on the mouth. People with anorexia are afraid of gaining weight or gaining weight even when they are very underweight. They limit their intake of food, exercise excessively, and after eating feel compelled to provoke vomiting, use laxatives, enemas (intestinal lavage), or diuretics to rid your body of excess weight.

Bulimia is described such as excessive food intake several times a week or, in more severe cases, several times a day. This uncontrollable desire causes unhealthy, excessive nutrition in sweet and fatty foods and is also followed by purging including self-induced vomiting and the use of diuretics, laxatives and enema. Studies show that 89% of bulimics show signs of damage to the mouth and teeth.

Compulsive eaters were previously classified as food addicts. They eat too much for short periods of time and can not control these impulses. They are different from bulimics in that they usually do not use purging techniques to rid their bodies of excess weight. Instead, they feel extremely guilty and remorseful, causing compulsive behavior to continue. Binge eating has been identified as equally prevalent in men and women.

How do eating disorders affect your mouth and your body?

All of these eating disorders have negative effects on your body. The deficiency of vitamins, minerals and nutrients associated with these disorders can cause problems in the body making it not work properly. Possible health problems include:

  • Weight loss,
  • Hair loss,
  • Low body temperature
  • Absence or irregularity of the menstrual cycle in women,
  • Heart problems, kidney failure and possible death.

The negative effects of vitamin and nutrient deficiency are also reflected in the mouth. In addition, for those who induce vomiting, stomach acids cause damage to the teeth. Mouth signs indicating eating disorders include:

  • Dry mouth and salivary gland enlargement,
  • Dry and cracked lips and oral lesions,
  • Erosion of teeth,
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot teeth

Recommended mouth care

People who suffer from eating disorders often seek the dentist as a result of problems they identify in their mouth and teeth. The dentist is qualified to identify mouth signs of serious eating disorders. They guide the patient in relation to oral and body damage and recommend treatment by a mental health professional. Meanwhile, they help relieve the patient's oral and dental problems. For example, those who have a habit of inducing vomiting are warned not to brush their teeth immediately after vomiting, as the harmful effects of stomach acids on the teeth will tend to worsen. Therefore, the patient should wait about half an hour to brush and use neutral toothpaste such as baking soda.

Preventive and restorative work may include:

  • Proper oral hygiene instructions.
  • Fluoride treatment plans, based on the individual. (Colgate®Duraphat may be a possible solution, but only if prescribed by your dentist.) Alternatives to dry mouth.
  • Sensitive treatment by restoring teeth with significant loss of enamel
  • Regular dentist consultation for monitor the progress of treatment.

The way in which eating disorders affect the mouth is secondary to the damage that will occur in the body. However, seeking the help of a mental health specialist is often difficult because of the shame and guilt associated with these disorders. Patients seeking treatment from a dentist due to damage and sensitivity to the teeth will be evaluated not only for oral reasons, but for problems with their overall well-being. This may be the first crucial step in getting help.


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