How Eating Disorders Can Affect Your Mouth

How Eating Disorders Can Affect Your Mouth

February 1, 2023

Eating disorders affect a person’s self-image, performance, relationships, and quality of life. In addition, they negatively impact your oral and general health. Eating disorders can cause permanent damage to your teeth, gums, and salivary glands. Read on to learn how the conditions affect your mouth and how the dentist in Hackensack, NJ, can help you.

Types of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are mental health issues that involve abnormal eating behaviors. They emanate from emotional, social, and physical problems affecting the individual. People with eating disorders have issues with their body image, weight, and food. The most common eating disorders are discussed below.

  1. Bulimia

Bulimic people have an uncontrollable urge to overeat several times a week or daily. After excessive eating, they purge their bodies of the excess food. They usually do this through self-induced vomiting. The individuals may also use laxatives, diuretics, and enemas.

  1. Anorexia

People with anorexia fear being fat or gaining weight. As a result, they limit their food intake and exercise excessively. They avoid or reduce foods with high calories like carbohydrates and fats. Whenever they eat, they may feel compelled to induce vomiting. Also, they may use enemas, laxatives, or diuretics to lose weight.

  1. Binge eating

People with this disorder cannot control their appetites. As a result, they regularly overeat within a short time. Unlike individuals with bulimia or anorexia, binge-eaters do not try to rid their bodies of calories. Instead, they feel guilty and remorseful and continue overeating.

How Eating Disorders Affect the Mouth

Your body does not receive proper nutrition if you have an eating disorder. As a result, your gums and soft tissues in the mouth will be prone to bleeding. In addition, oral wounds will not heal as fast as usual. Your teeth, too, will suffer due to a lack of calcium and fluoride from the foods or drinks you take. Consequently, they will not be strong or healthy.

When you throw up frequently, your salivary glands may become inflamed and enlarged. As a result, they will provide insufficient saliva leading to a chronic dry mouth. The condition will cause halitosis and increase your risks of decay and gum disease.

Frequent excessive vomiting also affects your teeth. When you vomit, acids from your stomach reach the mouth and contact your teeth. Over time, the acids erode your tooth enamel leading to enamel damage. In addition, the enamel becomes too thin. This results in tooth sensitivity whenever you eat cold or hot things.

Your tooth becomes fragile and can easily chip or fracture due to dental trauma. As a result, its shape and length are affected. Enamel erosion also causes your teeth to lose their brilliant white color. When the enamel thins, the dentine, which is yellow, shows, giving your teeth a discolored look. This affects your smile and self-image.

The acids that come into contact with your teeth when you vomit also make them prone to decay and cavities. Cavities are very painful and may require visiting an emergency dentist near you. In addition, the acids help form plaque and tartar, which contribute to gum infections. Other effects of eating disorders on the mouth include cracked or dry lips and mouth sores.

How Do Dentists Help With the Effects of Eating Disorders on the Mouth?

Unfortunately, most people with eating disorders suffer in silence. Others are too embarrassed to seek help, while others do not recognize they need help. Your dental team will be the first to detect signs of eating disorders. Once they notice the changes in your mouth, they will calmly discuss your issues. Next, they will get you the necessary help.

The dentist in Hackensack, NJ, will then provide treatments for oral issues caused by the disorder. They will provide fluoride treatments to strengthen the tooth if they detect enamel erosion. They will also offer dental treatments to prevent decay and reduce tooth sensitivity. For dry mouth, they will prescribe products to increase saliva production.

In addition, the dentist will treat injuries in your mouth that occur when you force objects into the mouth to induce vomiting. They will also perform a professional dental cleaning. It prevents decay caused by binge-eating sugary foods and beverages. If they detect the effects of poor nutrition, they will recommend nutritious foods and supplements.

Contact the dental team at Roman Dental Arts for dental treatment if you have eating disorders.