People who suffer with an eating disorder are obsessed with controlling their weight. They may see themselves as being overweight when in fact the opposite is true. The two more widely known eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. People with anorexia refuse to eat while bulimia patients gorge on food and then induce vomiting.
The vomiting that goes along with bulimia exposes the teeth to the acids that come from the stomach. These acids are harmful in many ways including deterioration of the tooth enamel that can lead to tooth decay. Anorexia can result in malnutrition which can cause gum disease and eventually tooth loss.
Bulimia and anorexia often affect adolescents. Parents should be conscious of any discoloration in their child’s teeth. Gums may become red and swollen and the vomiting may bring on a sore throat.
Your dentist will be able to determine a disease related dental condition. He will study medical histories and take xrays as part of his exam. Once your dentist is aware of an eating disorder he can recommend a preventive dental plan. He may also be able to refer you to a counselor.
Fluoride treatments and a prescription toothpaste may be recommended. Any bouts of vomiting should be followed by a thorough rinsing. A mouth guard can protect the teeth from stomach acids.