The health effects of eating disorders on your mouth and how your dentist can help identify them before they become serious. All eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, can negatively affect the mouth. These disorders can appear mild to severe, and dental professionals often take the initiative to identify possible red flags. Our dental team will explain how each condition can affect your mouth’s health and how you can treat them.
Many people with anorexia believe they are worth it according to the number of calories they consume and punish themselves if they overeat or eat the wrong kinds of food.
Anorexics may try to lose excess weight and calories through exercise, vomiting, laxatives, and enemas, in addition to restricting calorie intake.
Individuals with bulimia nervosa engage in binge-purge behaviours, which are indicators of the disease. The criteria for diagnosis of bulimia include bingeing (consuming excessive amounts of calories in one sitting) and purging (eating and expelling food and calories through excessive exercise, laxatives, or forcing yourself to vomit) for prolonged periods regularly. It is common for people with bulimia to experience symptoms such as fatigue, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and irregular menstruation.
Binge Eating Disorder
Previously, binge eaters were classified as food addicts, but we now understand the condition better. In binge eating, the sufferer often consumes a large amount of food or drink without feeling in control of what is happening. These binges may be planned with the sufferer purchasing “special” foods to eat, or they may be spontaneous.
Unlike “overindulging” or simply eating large portions, binge eating is not an enjoyable experience and can cause distress and embarrassment for sufferers.
It is common for binge eaters to eat faster than usual, eat until they feel uncomfortably full, consume large amounts of food when they are not hungry, eat alone due to embarrassment at the amount they consume, and feel disgusted, ashamed, or guilty afterwards. A binge eating disorder sufferer will not purge after a binge, unlike people with bulimia.
What Are the Effects of Eating Disorders on Your Mouth's Health?
These eating disorders affect your health negatively and should be treated seriously. Deficits of vitamins and nutrients can cause the body to shut down and not function properly, which will also show up in the mouth. The following oral signs can detect eating disorders:
- Mouth sores
- Enamel erosion
- Sensitive teeth
- Dry mouth
- Enlarged salivary glands
- Cracked/dry lips
- Tooth decay
- Bruising and injury to the mouth
As a result of excessive contact with stomach acid, people who purge through vomiting may also end up eroding tooth enamel.
What Can the Dental Team Do to Help Detect Eating Disorders?
An eating disorder can be detected at an early stage by dentists, dental hygienists, therapists, and dental nurses. They check the hard and soft tissues of your mouth and look for signs of tooth erosion and injuries caused by forcing objects into your mouth to induce vomiting.
Furthermore, they can detect tooth decay, nutritional deficiencies, and erosion through stomach acid.
To protect your teeth from decay, if your dentist suspects you may be suffering from an eating disorder, they will talk calmly with you about the signs in your mouth and prescribe fluoridated toothpaste or varnish. No matter what symptoms you are experiencing, you can trust our dental team to help you.