Eating disorders are serious conditions that affect the entire body, and without treatment, they could be deadly. There are many ways that eating disorders can even damage the teeth, which is just one more reason to get help if you suffer from anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
People with eating disorders don't get the proper nutrition that their bodies need. This includes the vitamins and minerals that are essential to maintain healthy teeth. Insufficient calcium will promote gum disease and tooth decay, and vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb it. People who don't get enough iron in their diets may suffer from mouth sores, and a lack of B vitamins can cause canker sores, gingivitis, and bad breath.
People with bulimia engage in binging and purging behaviors. Unfortunately, throwing up frequently allows highly acidic stomach acids to contact the teeth frequently. The enamel will start to erode, and the teeth can change color while becoming weak, translucent, and brittle. Decay can result, and the teeth may feel sensitive when consuming especially sweet, hot, or cold foods and drinks.
Both poor nutrition and vomiting can also lead to dry mouth, otherwise known as xerostomia. This condition is also a major contributor to tooth decay. A well-lubricated mouth is needed to rinse acid, bacteria, and food debris off of the teeth. If the mouth dries out, these substances can attack the teeth, leading to tooth decay.
Another side effect of purging is jaw pain within the temporomandibular joint. Specifically, a person may suffer from degenerative arthritis in the joint where lower jaw and skull connect. Arthritis in this joint can create jaw pain, problems with chewing, and chronic headaches.
Are you struggling with an eating disorder and need help? Are you in recovery and need your teeth evaluated for signs of damage? Give our office a call today.
727 E. Bethany Home Road Suite # A100 Phoenix, AZ 85014-2156