A Dentist Can Help Detect Signs of Eating Disorders through Examination
What People with Eating Disorder Should Do to Maintain a Good Oral Health
Eating disorders are psycho-physiologic challenges that affect a large number of the population. In the USA alone, this number is over 30 million people, more than the combined number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia, and Autism. Many, however, still don’t find the data alarming enough, and that’s probably because they are not fully aware of the damage eating disorders can cause to the body.
People with eating disorders are not getting enough calories. As a result, their cardiovascular system is at risk of breakdown, consequently weakening their body’s defences against illnesses. They may also develop gastroparesis, subsequently causing the stomach to rupture. All of these may lead to life-threatening emergencies. Another effect of eating disorders that is often taken lightly, yet is just as upsetting is dental problems. Here are some of the dental illnesses that could arise from untreated eating disorders.
Bulimia nervosa, one of the three major types of eating disorder, is characterized by periods of binge eating, followed by purging. Just as eating too much is already dangerous to your oral health, purging the food you’ve eaten puts your teeth and gums in even greater danger. This is because stomach acids are purged along with the food. These acids are potent enough to erode the teeth enamel and expose the sensitive layers of the teeth, leading to sensitivity issues, weakening of tooth structure, tooth fractures, and decay.
People with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by fear of gaining weight, limit the food they eat. In effect, their bodies do not receive enough calcium and other nutrients that hard tissues need to grow strong. Lack of calcium may lead to osteoporosis, which weakens all bones in the body, including the jawbones that hold the teeth in place. Because the teeth rely on calcium for strength and stability, they too would become brittle and eventually, the teeth will start to decay, fall out and the gums will recede.
Uncontrolled Sugar Levels
Those who are suffering from binge eating are also at risk of dental problems due to their condition. Because they tend to lose control over their eating regimen, their oral cavity collects more sugar-containing foodstuff than normal. Even with proper oral care, the risk of getting cavities is still higher for sufferers of binge eating because of the prolonged exposure of teeth to sugar.
One of the things you should not neglect or forget if you are suffering from an eating disorder is to visit your dentist regularly. Have your teeth and gums checked for signs of cavities, gingivitis, and other dental issues. If left untreated, these dental conditions could worsen and become difficult to treat.
For those who have a long term eating disorder, cosmetic dentistry or teeth whitening may be required to restore the teeth to their optimal condition. A certified dentist can even help identify the condition and provide the necessary guidance.