Unfortunately, eating disorders affect people of all ages. What many may not realize is that bulimia and anorexia have a negative effect on oral health. Let’s look at some eating disorders and the oral implications they have.
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging.
Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by food restriction, low body weight, body image issues, and the obsession with being thin.
When those suffering from bulimia purge frequently, acids are introduced into the oral cavity and affect the enamel on teeth. This frequent exposure to acids cause the enamel to erode away. When this occurs, teeth become weak, sensitive, and more prone to decay.
When those battling anorexia are restricting themselves from food, their body does not get the nutrition it needs. When bulimics purge shortly following eating, their body does not get a chance to absorb the nutrients their body needs.
Arthritis in TMJ
Frequent purging in bulimics is known to cause arthritis in the temporomandibular joint over time. This arthritis causes pain upon chewing, jaw stiffness, locking of the jaw, and/or changes in occlusion.
Dental professionals are often the first ones to observe signs of eating disorders. We are happy to provide resources to assist patients in getting the help they need. We also have products to help treat oral side effects of different eating disorders. The staff at Adams and Cheek Dentistry is always here to provide whatever information and/or support we can. Please call us at 919.866.1360 or click here to reach us online.