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Posted on: May 28, 2015
Erosion of Teeth and Other Signs of Bulimia
Bulimia is an eating disorder defined by abnormal eating behaviors such as binging and then purging through self-induced vomiting. People who suffer from an eating disorder and teeth problems can often keep them a secret from people close to them such as their families, friends and spouses. Early in the course of the disease, even their physicians may not notice any signs of a problem. When a bulimic patient visits the dentist, the secret is harder to keep; an experienced dentist can easily detect telltale changes in the teeth and mouth that suggest the presence of an eating disorder. Bulimia Effects on Teeth Surface erosion of teeth is a strong indicator of bulimic behavior, and is caused by exposure to stomach acids during vomiting. The loss of enamel and dentin typically occurs on the inside surfaces of upper front teeth. Affected teeth have a smooth, glass-like appearance and are free from stains. When erosion of teeth includes molars, patients become highly susceptible to decay and nerve infection. These bulimia effects on teeth often become obvious after the patient has been engaging in induced vomiting for at least two years. The degree of tooth erosion and the frequency of vomiting are related. If damage is allowed to progress, patients may experience tooth sensitivity, changes in bite, dry mouth, parotid gland swelling, and gum injuries. Managing an Eating Disorder and Teeth Damage Because of the serious nature of eating disorders and their effects on general health and oral health, it is important to treat both the dental manifestations and the underlying condition. The treatments and recommendations listed below may be helpful to bulimic patients during recovery.
- Seek professional medical treatment of bulimia and other eating disorders
- Have routine dental exams
- Get regular professional cleanings
- Practice strict dental hygiene habits
- Use desensitizing toothpaste
- Consider artificial saliva
- Supplement with calcium as needed
- Have treatments to promote re-mineralization
- Rinse with water after vomiting
- Refrain from brushing teeth immediately after vomiting
- Eat a healthy diet
- Undergo cosmetic dental restoration after recovery
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