August 19, 2018
An eating disorder can take a serious toll on your body — and sometimes in ways you may not expect. Disordered eating habits can have short-term and long-term effects on your oral health. These effects can range from weakened tooth enamel to gum recession, periodontal disease, and more. Keep reading to learn more about how the two common eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia, can affect your smile. A dentist in Diamond Mills is here with everything you need to know!
Eating Disorders and Oral Health
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders estimates that some 8 million people have eating disorders in the United States, a number which represents about 3% of the total population. Eating disorders affect people of every race, ethnic group, and gender — and may be brought on my genetics, environment, and personality traits.
People with anorexia restrict their diets and thus do not receive the nutrients their bodies need in order to thrive. When it comes to the smile, this behavior can lead to weak, sensitive teeth that are at a great risk of chipping or breaking. Gum disease may also develop due to the body’s inability to fight infection.
Individuals with bulimia may engage in a binge/purge cycle. Repeated exposure to the stomach acids in vomit can cause the tooth enamel to become weak and wear away. The teeth may look yellow or worn down as a result. Cavities and tooth loss are also more common in patients with bulimia.
Short-term effects of both conditions include:
- Visible dental imperfections — stained teeth, weak or worn enamel
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Gum recession/disease
Long-term effects of bulimia and anorexia include:
- Loss of bone structure
- Tooth loss
How a Dentist Can Help
As the professional who sees the teeth routinely, a dentist may be the first intervention for an eating disorder. After the disease has been treated, a dentist can help to correct the visible damage done by an eating disorder with cosmetic dentistry. Restorative dentistry services, like dental implants, crowns, and others can also help with tooth loss or significant damage that has occurred as a result of the eating disorder.
It is important to remember that, while your dentist can help to bring your smile back to full health after the disordered eating has been treated, they are not equipped to provide treatment for the actual issue. If you believe you have an eating disorder or know someone who does, do not hesitate to seek professional help as soon as possible. After the condition has been treated, get in touch with a caring dentist to provide the help you or your loved one need to smile with full confidence once again.
Meet the Practice
Diamond Dental of Owings Mills offers general dentistry services for patients of all ages. Dr. Monica Mattson has significant experience across a variety of general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry treatments. To learn more about how your dentist in 21117 can help after an eating disorder or to discuss anything else related to your smile, do not hesitate to get in touch with the office at 443-394-2273.
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