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How Do Eating Disorders Affect Your Oral Health

Eating Disorders

No matter their age, gender, or ethnic origin, anyone can be affected by eating disorders, a significant mental and physical health problem that afflicts our society. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) estimates that in the United States, an eating disorder will impact 20 million women and 10 million men at some point in their lives. 

Eating disorders have a detrimental effect on a person’s self-image, relationships with family and friends, performance in school or at work, as well as their health and quality of life. It’s crucial to discuss your eating disorder with your healthcare professional.

Classification of eating disorders (mostly related to oral health)

1) Anorexia.

It usually entails great anxiety over putting on weight or a phobia of getting obese. People with this disorder frequently believe they are overweight, sometimes resulting in risky behaviors like excessive exercise or hunger. Individuals suffering from anorexia may vomit, use laxatives, or have enemas to eliminate food from their bodies.

2) Bulimia.

Bulimia includes the dread of being overweight, just like anorexia. However, it also involves covert instances of overeating (binge eating), which may occur numerous times per week or multiple times daily. Individuals who overeat may feel entirely out of control. They may consume thousands of calories, often high in carbohydrates and fat, in proportions more than the ordinary person would consume in a single sitting. Individuals who overeat try to “erase” the fact that they ate too much as soon as possible by forcing themselves to “throw up” or consuming laxatives or enemas.

3) Binge eating or compulsive overeating.

Binge eating is a common disorder that affects men and women equally. Repeated episodes of binge eating characterize this eating disorder. When someone overeats, they frequently feel out of control and feel guilty or ashamed of themselves. Bulimia patients, on the other hand, experience periods of overeating without purging behaviors. NEDA defines the activity of binge eating on average at least once a week over three months as part of the diagnostic criteria for the binge-eating disorder.

Impact of eating disorders on your dental health

Oral health can be impacted by eating disorders. Gums and other soft tissues in the mouth could bleed readily if not given the proper nutrients such as vitamin B, iron, and calcium. Lack of iron in our diet could lead to the development of oral sores. Canker sores, gum inflammation, dry mouth, and bad breath are all attributed to individuals who are low on vitamin B3 levels. 

Degenerative arthritis in the temporomandibular joint in the jaw, which causes discomfort, recurrent headaches, and difficulty chewing, has also been linked to eating disorders. Frequent vomiting might also harm your teeth because when strong stomach acid flows over teeth repeatedly, worn out the teeth’ enamel to the point where the teeth alter color, shape, and length.

Symptoms of an eating disorder in your mouth

It is not uncommon for dental professionals to detect the detrimental impacts of eating disorders just by looking inside a mouth. The erosive effects of stomach acid coming into contact with the teeth and other oral tissues while vomiting can seriously impair your dental health. As a result, teeth may appear worn down and translucent, become sensitive to cold, develop tooth decay, dry mouth, inflamed salivary glands, have trouble swallowing, and experience other oral health problems.

People with eating disorders may also be deficient in essential nutrients, resulting in problems including gum disease, jaw bone loss, mouth ulcers, and foul breath.

Preventive measures to avoid eating disorders and maintain dental health

  • Keep up a strict oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing and flossing.
  • To neutralize the effects of stomach acid, do not brush after throwing up, but rather rinse with baking soda.
  • If you have cavities or weak teeth, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments in-office or fluoride toothpaste on prescription.
  • Your dentist may recommend sugar-free gum containing xylitol or saliva substitutes if you suffer from dry mouth.
  • Ask your dentist for advice on the best course of action for you.
  • Check with your dentist regularly.

One of the most crucial things you should know if you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder is that help is always available. Therefore, if you need more help, you may contact our Dentistry on Dunn: Oakville Family Dentist. Our dental specialists will assist you in selecting the best solution and address any queries you may have.

Also Read: Health Problems Your Teeth Can Predict

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