Your oral hygiene routine is important, but dietary habits also affect oral health. Changes in the mouth are sometimes the initial physical signs of an eating disorder. The habits associated with eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, are often accompanied by nutritional deficiencies that can have severe consequences on one’s dental health and well-being. Understanding how eating disorders can affect your oral health can help arm you with the information you need and encourage you to receive the appropriate guidance from your dentists in Gainesville, FL. 

Comprehensive Dental Care is a trusted Gainesville, FL, dental practice using the latest techniques in restorative dentistry, dental therapy, and cosmetic dentistry for individualized treatments that meet the unique dental needs of our patients. Contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our dental services.

How Do Eating Disorders Affect Your Mouth?

Oftentimes, patients with eating disorders are embarrassed or worried about seeing their dentist because of their oral issues. Conditions like bad breath, sensitive teeth, and tooth erosion are just a few of the effects of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. For individuals with bulimia, frequent vomiting causes harsh stomach acids to come into contact with the teeth, wearing away at their enamel and increasing the potential for tooth decay. The effects of anorexia, particularly the lack of nutrients, can cause the jawbone to weaken, potentially resulting in tooth loss.

Signs Of An Eating Disorder In The Mouth

One of the first signs a patient may be suffering suffer from an eating disorder is the thinning of the enamel on the front teeth or lingual mandibular. When a person purges, stomach acids travel through the mouth, eroding the backside of the front teeth quite significantly. Erosion on tooth enamel or the protective portion of the teeth can cause tooth sensitivity, thinning, and chipping. A routine dental checkup can reveal signs of oral diseases and may indicate how long an individual has been purging. Some of the signs dentists look for include the following.

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth enamel erosion
  • Gum problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Inflamed esophagus
  • Tender oral surfaces
  • Worn, thin teeth
  • Decreased saliva production
  • Cracked lips
  • Palatal hemorrhages
  • Problems swallowing
  • Enlarged parotid glands
  • Jaw alignment abnormalities
  • Cracked lips
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Sensitive gums
  • Oral sores

How To Help Improve Your Oral Health

Dentists, dental hygienists, therapists, and dental nurses can detect early signs of eating disorders. Intervention by loved ones, friends, and medical and dental professionals can help spur a person to seek treatment for their eating disorder. As part of one’s healthcare team, a dentist can help ensure recovery is successful for the whole body. If you suffer from an eating disorder, these practices can help reduce oral health issues associated with these conditions.

  • Maintain meticulous oral health and hygiene related to tooth brushing and flossing
  • If you throw up, do not brush your teeth, instead, rinse out your mouth with baking soda and water to help neutralize the effects of the stomach acid in the mouth
  • Consult with your dentist about your specific treatment needs
  • Visit your dentist regularly