Bulimia and Dental Care
Bulimia is not only a serious eating disorder that can be life threatening but also a psychiatric compulsive disorder. Bulimia leads to dehydration from vomiting which causes low potassium levels affecting our thinking, heart, and kidneys but also affects one’s dental health. Purging is common for most bulimic patients however also can include excessive exercising, use of diuretics, and laxatives. Those who are constantly purging after meals can suffer from tooth erosion of the enamel and severe erosion can change ones bite and the way the teeth come together. Signs of Bulimia on ones dental health usually take about three years to become evident. Those teeth most affected from dental erosion are the back side of the upper front teeth leading to tooth decay and sensitivity. Bulimia also causes puffiness in the cheeks, swollen salivary glands, and the mouth to be drier making one more prone to tooth decay. Besides dental erosion bulimia also affects our periodontal health. People suffering from bulimia can be under nourished which causes poor healing and anemia therefore increasing one risk for periodontal disease which leads to tooth loss.
Dental Tips for Those Suffering from Bulimia:
- Drink lots of water to keep the mouth moist. Saliva replacements can be prescribed by your dentist if you’re suffering from a severe dry mouth. Chewing sugarless gum can also help produce more saliva in the mouth.
- Prescription fluoride is recommended to help prevent tooth decay and dental erosion.
- After purging drink water before brushing your teeth to neutralize the acid on the enamel otherwise brushing right after purging can cause damage to the enamel.
- Brush often throughout the day and floss daily.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for your routine cleaning, exam, and dental x-rays.
If you are suffering from bulimia seek both medical and psychiatric help. In extreme cases an individual that suffers from bulimia may experience severe tooth loss. Dental implants are a permanent way to replace missing teeth. It depends on how many teeth you are missing as to whether or not you are a dental implant candidate, among other factors. Please let your dentist know you have this disorder so they can best help you protect your teeth.
This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Dr. Arthur Chal.