Many of the behaviors associated with eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, cause changes in the mouth. Examples of these behaviors include self-induced vomiting, the use of diuretics and laxatives, or binge eating. Eating disorders are known to cause severe digestive and general health problems… and oral health is affected as well. For example, bulimia nervosa may result in poorly fitting braces and fillings.
Repeated episodes of vomiting are common with those suffering bulimia nervosa disorders. Vomiting releases harmful stomach acids which wear away tooth enamel. Over time these acids will lead to gingivitis and severe tooth decay. The gums, oral tissue, throat, and salivary glands may also become inflamed and swollen. Lips can become dry and parched, and bad breath may also occur as a result of frequent vomiting.
Seeking dental treatment for any oral health related complications is critical. Your mouth will thank you, in the short term and in the long term. Whether it is an abscessed tooth, a cavity, or an eating disorder… oral health should never be neglected. Part of responsible oral hygiene, outside from regularly flossing, brushing, and rinsing daily after every meal, includes regular visits to your dentist. He’s there to help.
As with any other health disorder, medical treatment is crucial. While your dentist can help treat oral problems that are a result of bulimia disorder, this is only a symptom of an underlying problem which should be treated by a doctor.
Adolescent girls and young women are at the highest risk for an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa. Those who suffer bulimia feel comfort is provided by food, and eating provides a sense of control. However, binge eating provides guilt, shame, and fear related to weight gain, and a sufferer will use laxatives or self induce vomiting.
Outside of the oral problems caused by excessive vomiting, bulimia nervosa causes several other health problems if left untreated for too long. Mental health problems may develop, or might even be an underlying cause of the eating disorder. Seeking medical treatment is the most efficient way to identify the cause of bulimia nervosa and to recover.
If left untreated, serious complications may occur that are not so easy to treat. On the other hand, a person will be able to live a happier and healthier life once they seek treatment.