We are here to help our patients keep their teeth and gums healthy through any physical and mental health challenges they face.
Our teeth and gums require vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to stay healthy. Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa can be very hard on the oral health of those who struggle with them. A person suffering from an eating disorder either doesn’t eat well or enough, which can cause serious problems.
If you or a loved one suffers from an eating disorder, you are not alone. There are many resources for help and support. There are several signs and symptoms to watch for if you are worried that a friend or loved one might be developing an eating disorder. At The Dental Anesthesia Center, our dental health professionals are here to help patients keep their teeth and gums healthy through any physical and mental health challenges they face.
How Malnutrition Harms Oral Health
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an extremely limited intake of food, often paired with compulsive purging, exercising, or both. Anorexia harms oral health through malnutrition. Without sufficient nutrients, the jawbones can develop osteoporosis, which increases the risk of tooth loss.
Those struggling with anorexia often experience dry mouth. This is caused by not taking in enough fluids. A dry mouth makes tooth decay and gum disease more likely because saliva is essential to neutralize acids and wash away food particles. Gums can also be vulnerable to bleeding without nutrients to keep the immune system healthy.
How Acid Erosion Affects the Teeth
Bulimia is another eating disorder characterized by overeating, then forcibly purging food through laxatives or vomiting. When a person vomits, it puts strong stomach acid in repeated contact with tooth enamel. While enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it is extremely vulnerable to erosion when exposed to acid. Someone struggling with bulimia often experiences tooth decay, discoloration, and even tooth loss.
How to Protect Your Oral Health
Everyone needs good oral hygiene routines to keep their teeth and gums healthy. But it is especially the case for those struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder.
An eating disorder is a mental illness, and recovery involves much help and support. This help may come from family members, close friends, or a psychiatrist. Another beneficial resource is the National Eating Disorders helpline. At The Dental Anesthesia Center, our dental health professionals are here to help patients keep their teeth and gums healthy through any physical and mental health challenges they face.
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