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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.
Halitosis or bad breath is one of the most unnerving dental conditions a person can have. While it is considered as a minor issue with a simple solution, its impact on your life can be just as devastating as that of a chronic oral disease. Imagine failing a job application or losing an important client just because you were given a markdown for having a bad breath. Not only will it cost you the opportunity of a lifetime, but it might also drain away what is left of your self-esteem.
Simply put, halitosis should not be taken lightly. When the signs start showing up, deal with it right away before it develops into something permanent. And since halitosis is usually considered as a symptom of a more serious dental condition, it is all the more important to diagnose and treat it properly and immediately.
Causes of Halitosis
Everyone experiences having a bad breath from time to time. This is mainly due to the millions of bacteria growing naturally in the mouth. Bacteria grow more rapidly when there’s foodstuff left on the teeth. Thanks to the saliva, these bacteria are constantly washed down, reducing the unpleasant smell that your mouth exudes.
Have you ever wondered why your breath stinks in the morning as you wake up? That’s because the mouth produces less saliva when you’re asleep than when you’re awake. Meaning, there’s less saliva to keep the population of bacteria in check. However, this constant natural changes in the mouth isn’t always the cause of bad breath. Some practices and medical conditions can trigger spoiling, too.
For instance, infection in the mouth, such as tooth decay and periodontitis, gives off rotten and metallic smell. The foul odour of bacteria is increased by the smell of decomposing enamel and soft gum tissues. Respiratory tract infections are also key sources of bad breath as they occur right along the air passage.
Your diet also plays a major role in the smell of your breath. If you eat too much strong-smelling foods such onion and garlic, your mouth will acquire a funky smell, which is not very pleasant. Cigarette smoking is also a known cause of this condition. The smell of tobacco is so strong it won’t go away quickly by mere brushing.
Prevention and Cure
Knowing that halitosis is caused mainly by bacteria build-up, its treatment is centred on reducing and preventing the growth of bacteria. Brushing with fluoride-rich tooth paste is one of the most common solution. Fluoride kills bacteria and makes the mouth feel and smell fresh. Flossing, on the other hand, removes foodstuff stuck in the areas of the teeth that the brush cannot access. Keeping the teeth clean and buffered with fluoride prevents the formation of plaque, which activates infection.
If the cause of halitosis is an existing oral disease, it will only disappear once the disease is cured. This is why it is crucial to go to a dentist if you are looking for the most effective remedy for your bad breath. If your bad breath is caused by gum disease, your best option is to visit a periodontist, a dentist specialising in periodontics.