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Bulimia and Your Teeth

Updated: Dec 18, 2018

Nobody likes to think that someone they love, a friend, or possibly their daughter/son is suffering from an eating disorder.  In fact, someone suffering with Bulimia, may look perfectly healthy outwardly.

Inwardly however, there are tell-tale signs:  many that a dentist can spot.

Dentists are often one of the first people to notice that someone has an eating disorder. Bulimia sufferers will have noticeable differences in the condition of their teeth, which, if left untreated, could result in the complete loss of all their teeth.

Bulimia can cause very serious dental problems, and the longer the condition exists the worse the problem will become. Frequent vomiting can cause the enamel on teeth to wear down over time, due to a buildup of gastric acid inthe mouth, resulting in tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease.

Bulimics will usually try and keep their disorder a secret.  However, there are many warning signs that dentists will look out for including;

  • Red, cracked and/or dry lips

  • The erosion of tooth enamel due to continued exposure of gastric acid

  • A dry mouth due to lack of saliva

  • Enlarged saliva glands

  • Redness on the palate and in the throat

  • Gum tissue erosion

  • Fillings may appear higher, especially around the back teeth

  • A change in the ‘bite’ due to teeth becoming loose

  • There may also be severe dental pain

Although dentists can be the first people to spot signs of bulimia it does not always mean they will discuss the problem with the patient. Most dentists will, however, give advice on how to treat the related dental problems.

Dentists will advise bulimics not to brush their teeth immediately after purging.  Brushing immediately after vomiting will turn the teeth yellow and will also speed up tooth decay. Chewing antacids will also help counteract the gastric acid, and chewing gum will help increase the flow of saliva. Always usefluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes to help reduce tooth decay.

Much help is available for the bulimia sufferer and the problem should be tackled as early as possible. If you do, or know/suspect someone is suffering from bulimia and you/their teeth are showing signs of erosion or discomfort it is vital that you contact a dentist as soon as possible to reduce any further damage to the teeth.

Feel free to contact us for more info on or visit our website

For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180


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