Eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia or binge eating are dangerous and very hard on your body—including your dental health.

Eating disorders disrupt nutritional intake, and that has a dramatic impact on all body systems. Without proper nutrition, a patient may experience oral problems such as gums that easily bleed or chronic dry mouth, because the saliva glands can swell and not function properly.

In disorders such as bulimia, where an individual induces vomiting to get rid of food that’s been eaten, stomach acid flowing over the teeth can cause serious problems. Tooth enamel can be compromised and lost to the point where the edges of the teeth become thin and break off. Teeth can change color, shape, and length. The teeth may become extremely sensitive to hot or cold foods.

More than 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders, with most being teen and young adult women. Eating disorders are typical a result of other issues—social, physical, or psychological—and treatment typically requires that all pertinent issues need to be addressed to help overcome the problem. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for recovery, and dentists can sometimes help by spotting issues with teeth or oral health that have been brought on by eating disorders.

If you suspect you may have an eating disorder—or if you think someone you know has an eating disorder—please seek help. These conditions can be fatal or cause permanent problems. And if you have questions,
call us at 704-376-6470 or use the“Ask The Expert” feature of our website.

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