Eating disorders know no age, gender, or a specific type of person. While female teenagers and women most commonly suffer from diseases like anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating, they can still affect anyone. Such disorders can have many negative impacts on someone’s mental and physical health. Acadia Dental knows that these health issues can also have a big impact on one’s oral health.
The effects can be dire. A disorder does not need to include vomiting for it to be bad for your teeth and gums. Heavily restrictive diets can extremely be unhealthy for one’s oral care as well. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, up to 89% of bulimia patients display signs of early tooth erosion. Other studies have shown similar findings with patients who have extremely restrictive diets.
One of the reasons why some of these disorders are so harmful is due to the loss of proper nutrition which causes gums and other soft tissues to bleed more easily. Saliva production might also be affected, causing a sufferer to have a chronic dry mouth.
If a patient regurgitates on a constant basis (this is also known as purging), he or she stands a greater chance of harming the teeth’s enamel due to the stomach acid. Teeth can also change in size, colour, and length, leaving them brittle. This now makes regular eating as well as one’s everyday life extremely difficult.
Here are some of the signs you may notice with someone who has an eating disorder:
*Teeth can become weak and translucent
*Lesions on the surface of the teeth within six months of the onset of the disorder
*Increased sensitivity to the temperature of food and liquid
*Dry mouth or enlarged salivary glands
*Exposed pulp and possible pulp death
*Sudden pain in random areas of the mouth
HOW ACADIA DENTAL CAN HELP
Regular dental visits can be helpful in diagnosing and preventing eating disorders from worsening. According to the Institute for Dental Research, 28% of bulimia cases were diagnosed initially during a dental examination. A patient might not even realize that what he or she is doing is a problem. We will guide the patients and provide the help that they need.
Our professional dental staff at Acadia Dental will be able to tell if a patient has recently started purging or if they have been doing so for years, as they can view the damage that has been done to the teeth. They will also be looking for tooth decay, enamel erosion, abnormal jaw alignment, chronic sore throat, mouth sores, and cracked lips, among others.
If you or someone you know is being affected by an eating disorder, it is important to get help as soon as possible. These eating disorders can be life-threatening if not treated properly. These situations should be treated with care, especially when it involves confronting a loved one. Remember that these issues are not as simple as they seem, so make sure to bring up the topic in a nonjudgmental way. This could make the difference between them seeking help and continuing on a destructive road.