Our dietary habits, from eating too much sugar or too little fruit and veggies can have a strong influence on our oral health. But if harmful dietary disorders and nutritional deficiencies are present, they can lead to deficiencies and problems with our dental health.
Eating disorders stem from an extreme fear of weight gain or a dread of becoming “fat”, and cause lingering or even permanent damage to the teeth and mouth:
- Lack of essential vitamins will result in unprovoked or easy bleeding of the gums and the lining inside of your mouth.
- Nutritional deficiencies will result in lack of saliva causing a chronic dry mouth and cracked lips.
- Food restrictions often lead to deficiencies in calcium, iron and B vitamins. Insufficient calcium can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Insufficient iron can lead to the development of mouth sores. Insufficient amounts of vitamin B3 can contribute to bad breath and the development of mouth ulcers.
- Frequent vomiting exposes the teeth repeatedly to a strong stomach acid. The tooth’s outer layer, the enamel, can be dissolved and lost, resulting in brittle, translucent and weak teeth, sensitive to hot or cold food or drink. In extreme cases the pulp can be exposed leading to an infection, discoloration or even pulp death.
- The sharp tooth edges formed by the acid erosion can cause ulcers in the mouth lining leading to peeling and sores.
- Purging can lead to redness, scratches and cuts inside the mouth, especially on the roof of the mouth.
- A frequent binge-and-purge habit can cause swollen and painful salivary glands.
How to prevent the Oral Health Consequences of Eating Disorders
- Maintain perfect oral hygiene with brushing and flossing. Have twice a year an examination by your dentist. We at Tooronga Family Dentistry have a confidential relationship with our patients that suffer from Eating Disorders making it easy for them to disclose their struggles and progress towards recovery.
- For those who suffer from Bulimia, after purging should immediately rinse their mouth with water or use a sugar-free mouth rinse. Wait with brushing for an hour to avoid stripping away the soft enamel layer created by the strong stomach acid.
- For those who suffer from a dry mouth have a bottle of water at hand to moisten your mouth and use oil based products to protect your lips
- To increase the resilience of the enamel to acid, fluoride rinses may be prescribed as well as desensitizing or re-mineralizing agents.
If eating disorders are detected and treated early the prevention and recovery will be more successful for the body in general and the teeth in particular. If you or your loved one is struggled with an eating disorder, call us on 98227006 for an appointment to have the mouth and teeth examined.