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Effects of eating disorders on oral health

October 12, 2010

Eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, are serious illnesses that affect millions the world over.  They deprive the body of the many vitamins and minerals that it needs, affecting the person’s physical and mental health.  Sufferers of these disorders tend to do them in private, making it difficult to be able to diagnose a friend or loved one.  However, one person can very easily discover the telltale signs of the disorders, and that’s your dentist. Eating disorders normally consist of excessive vomiting which has very severe consequences on your oral health.  The acids that arise due to vomiting are strong enough to erode tooth enamel and even change the size and shape of the teeth.   It can also cause bad breath, mouth sores, sensitive teeth, dry mouth and lips, and swollenness in the glands and throat. Restoring your oral hygiene after recovery is extremely important to overall health.  It is recommended to avoid brushing teeth immediately after vomiting because the already weakened enamel can get worse by the toothbrush.  However, rinsing with water or a fluoride mouth rinse immediately after is recommended.  And of course, daily oral care like brushing twice a day with a remineralizing toothpaste like Dr.Collins Restore Toothpaste, or a fluoride toothpaste will help to rebuild the enamel.  And daily flossing can help avoid further tooth erosion, cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Although eating disorders must be addressed by a physician or psychological counselor, your dentist can help restore the effects it has on your teeth.  If you or someone you know is suffering with an eating disorder, call your physician and your dentist for help.