How bulimia and anorexia harm your teeth

By Dr. Corne Smith

Thanks to those Photoshopped magazine covers, adverts and social media, body disorders and eating disorders are more common than we realise. Young women, trying to look and feel more attractive, go to extreme measures to fit into impossible dress-sizes. Apart from the health risk, eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia, can also cause serious harm to your teeth.

 

Bulimia disorder is characterized by recurrent self-induced vomiting after eating high volumes of food. This continuous vomiting causes gastric acids and other substances to travel to the mouth resulting in:

  • Tooth enamel erosion
  • Cavities
  • Teeth discoloration
  • Tooth loss
  • Tooth decay

What other consequences can eating disorders have in my oral health?
Anorexia or semi-starvation deprives the body of the many nutrients it needs. It could end up causing bone diseases like osteoporosis which in turn, weakens the jaw bones that support your teeth, leading to tooth loss. Additionally, malnutrition affects the entire immune system, which makes a person more vulnerable to develop other dental disorders such as, tooth decay and gum disease.
If this is your case, Corne Smith Dentistry can help you, here’s how:

  • Start with a total hygiene care
  • Attend regular professional dental cleanings with your dentist
  • Fluoride treatments are recommended to prevent further erosion, decrease dentin sensitivity, neutralize acids and protect and mineralise the tooth surfaces
  • Frequent dental visits to monitor the condition of the mouth
  • And lastly – but most importantly – you will need to commit yourself to a professional treatment plan for your eating disorder.
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We realise that eating disorder is a complex, difficult problem, but there is help – and hope – available! For more information, contact the Imani treatment clinic in Cape Town.

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