Eating Disorders Can Lead to Dental Erosion
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, eating disorders are believed to affect about 30 million Americans of all ages and genders. These disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders not otherwise specified. While eating disorders are widely known to have severe damage on the body, they can cause even more destruction to your smile. A recent study performed by researchers at Norway’s University of Bergen found that the risk of dental erosion, facial pain, tooth sensitivity and other dental problems are significantly more likely in those with eating disorders. More than a third of those who suffered had dental erosion and dry mouth that could be described as severe.
Frequent vomiting acts as an acid bath for the teeth. The high acid content in the vomit disrupts normal pH levels, and provides inadequate saliva flow. This can make it harder to neutralize the oral acids and remineralize the teeth. As the condition continues, the enamel erosion worsens. The dentin and roots of the teeth can then become exposed, which triggers sensitivity or decay. Poor nutritional status can also make it harder for your body to fight infection and remineralize the teeth.
If you suffer from an eating disorder, rinse your mouth as soon as possible after vomiting. This can help reduce the effects of the stomach acids on your teeth. Drink tap water when possible, as it gives your teeth a boost of fluoride. Try to eat tooth-healthy foods that can strengthen enamel, such as dairy products. Also, chew sugar-free gum or candies to stimulate saliva flow. If necessary, we can also prescribe a strong fluoride toothpaste to further strengthen your enamel. If we feel the damage is severe, we may recommend visiting us more frequently for checkups and cleanings. Using daily multivitamins or other supplements may also be appropriate.
Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with our dentist in Northridge.
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