Teeth and Bulimia

I have had bulimia for several years now. I have managed to keep it a secret but now everyone’s suspicions have been confirmed after my latest dental visit. The dentist told my parents how bad my teeth were. He said they were pretty much rotting away and eroding from getting sick repetitively. Is there anything that can be done to help protect my teeth from the vomiting? Please don’t tell me to simply stop throwing up. If it was that easy, I would have done it by now. I just want to know if I can do anything to keep my teeth from getting worse? My parents and I now have an appointment with some specialist in a few weeks too that is supposed to help.

– Laina

Laina,

As hard as it is to move to acceptance, it is a big step that your parents are aware and it is out in the open. And the fact that you are willing to share your bulimia story is huge. These small things are big steps in the right direction. You should be commended on seeking help and being honest with what you are facing.

Of course, it would be easy to tell you to stop throwing up. Unfortunately, as much as you don’t want to hear it, that is the only long term cure for preventing further tooth decay. The acid in your stomach erodes the enamel down on your teeth. Your first thought may be to brush your teeth right after you purge. But actually, this causes more damage to the enamel because the acid layer actually removes a thin layer of the enamel. Rinsing with water only will help or even rinsing with a fluoride mouth wash. You may ask your dentist if there is a particular brand he or she recommends. Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and may help them to be more resilient against the acid. It may also be helpful to get a soft-bristled toothbrush as opposed to a hard one.

Unfortunately, if this behavior continues you will be looking at the potential for a lot of restorative dental work. Depending on how bad your teeth are and how much enamel has been lost, you may require porcelain crowns, root canals, and even dental bridges or implants if your teeth are eroded so much that they need to be removed.

Again, you are taking a step in the right direction by seeking help for your bulimia. Thank you for sharing your story.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry.

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