Millions of Americans suffer from some type of eating disorder. Teenage girls and young women are most likely to suffer from an eating disorder, but anyone can be affected. Dentists may be the first medical professionals to discover the signs of an eating disorder in a patient. This is because anorexia (starvation) and bulimia (frequent, self-induced vomiting) both have an impact on dental health.
Bulimia is the most common eating disorder to be detected by dentists. In fact, over 90% of bulimia sufferers exhibit signs of tooth erosion. This is due to the amount of stomach acid that comes in contact with the teeth and will eat away at the tooth enamel. Once the enamel is damaged, teeth become more vulnerable to dental cavities, tooth sensitivity, chips, and cracks. Although other types of acid found in soda and wine can also cause these problems, bulimics will present in a distinct pattern along the backs of the upper teeth.
While enamel cannot be regrown, there are restorative treatments that can restore the function and appearance of the teeth while protecting them from further damage. These options include dental crowns, bridges, or dental veneers, depending on the severity of the damage and the age of the patient.
In addition to enamel erosion, bulimia sufferers will also suffer damage to the soft tissues of the mouth due to stomach acid. This includes the roof of the mouth, the throat, and the tongue.
Anorexia can also be detected by your dentist. The lack of nutrition in anorexia sufferers will result in more frequent dental cavities and tooth decay. It’s also important to keep in mind that many of these disorders may overlap and cause all of the above issues.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, please contact your doctor, or visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for information and support.
Here at Endodontic Specialists, we can provide the best in root canal therapy. For more information, please contact one of our three locations in Colorado Springs North, and Pueblo, Colorado.