How Eating Disorders Erode Teeth
Eating disorders impact the entire body, including the teeth and gums. Erosion of enamel is a common sign of both bulimia and anorexia and predisposes patients to tooth decay and its complications. Here is more about the effects of eating disorders on teeth.
Bulimia and Teeth
Bulimia involves a repeated cycle of binge eating and vomiting, which exposes the teeth to high concentrations of stomach acid. The enamel becomes weakened and eroded over time, making it vulnerable to attack by oral bacteria. A lack of nutrients also contributes to tooth decay by depriving the body of what it needs for routine repair.
Anorexia and Teeth
Anorexia is marked by chronic self-starvation and is often seen in combination with bulimia. After long-term undereating, the body is unable to maintain strong teeth. The immune system also becomes less active, allowing bad bacteria to take hold in the mouth.
How Patients with Eating Disorders Can Fight Erosion
Patients who have eating disorders may see complete resolution of dental issues after recovery. However, bulimic patients can minimize continuing damage by waiting at least a half-hour to brush after vomiting. With preventive use of high-strength fluoride products, these patients may also help speed enamel repair.
Eating disorders are highly destructive to oral health, providing another reason for sufferers to seek recovery. Still, even patients with active eating disorders can work toward healthy teeth and gums by taking the steps listed here. Patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist to learn more about the effects of eating disorders on teeth.
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