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What Does an Eating Disorder Do to Dental Health?

Eating disorders can cause many kinds of damage to the body, including the teeth.

Oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits are crucial, but in order to maintain good oral health, we also need a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals every day.

Anorexia Versus Oral Health

An eating disorder like anorexia nervosa can lead to osteoporosis, which increases the risk of tooth loss. It also causes dry mouth, increasing the risk of gum disease. It also makes it harder to avoid bad breath, because saliva washes away food particles.

Bulimia and Acid Erosion

Bulimia can be even more harmful to oral health, because in addition to starving the oral tissues of needed nutrients, frequent purging exposes the teeth to stomach acid, leading to enamel erosion, tooth discoloration, decay, and eventually tooth loss.

You Have Allies in Your Fight for Your Health

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. The road to a healthier relationship with food and weight can be long and difficult. Sympathetic family members, friends, and licensed mental health professionals are key allies on that journey, and dental health professionals can help safeguard oral health along the way.

One of Those Allies Is the Dentist

The impact an eating disorder can have on the teeth and gums is severe enough that dentists may be some of the first to know that something is wrong. Recognizing the signs of an eating disorder and seeking timely intervention are crucial steps in protecting oral health and promoting overall wellness. Your dentist wants to help.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.