Do you know someone with an eating disorder? While the health complications to the body are many, it is important to know what an eating disorder does to your teeth and overall oral health. It is for this reason that we delicately approach this topic.
Did you know that many times an eating disorder is first diagnosed during a dental exam when a dentist detects changes to the mouth as the first physical signs? Those with anorexia and bulimia are often suffering from lack of nutrition which can be the cause of several oral health issues.
Frequent vomiting, the hallmark of an eating disorder, is also the most damaging aspect of the disorder in regards to the teeth. Stomach acid is extremely strong, and exposing your teeth to it on a regular basis is not good for your tooth enamel. It will wear away and increase sensitivity, cause discoloration, and in the worst cases, allow for decay to enter the teeth.
As you, or your loved one takes steps to heal from an eating disorder, be sure to follow a regular, consistent habit of oral hygiene in order to reduce the damage to your teeth and the oral cavity. First, keep up a thorough toothbrushing routine at least twice a day and floss once a day. It is important to remember NOT to brush immediately after vomiting. Brushing when there is still acid residue in your mouth creates further risks. Instead, rinse and gargle pure water in your mouth. You can also rinse with a little baking soda to help neutralize the acid. Don’t brush until at least an hour after purging.
As your dentist, we want you to know that we are here for you. Confide in us. We will never judge you and will always maintain full doctor-patient confidentiality.
If you’d like more education about a dental device for bruxism, call Dr. Arel Ondoy and our helpful team at Arel C Ondoy DMD. Phone: 708-535-0333 , or come by our office in Oak Forest, Illinois.