Eating Disorders and Oral Health



Anorexia

Anorexia sufferers have a fear of putting on weight, so they severely restrict how much food and drink they consume. They punish themselves for eating too much or eating the wrong types of foods, as they see it. Their estimation of their own value is measured against what they eat.

Some people with anorexia may try to lose weight through vomiting, taking laxatives, using enemas orexercising.

By believing that what they do swallow are safe foods and drinks, their diet may not contain the nutrients necessary for a healthy life.

Bulimia

Some use the term ‘binge’ eating for this disorder. Sufferers consume an excessive number of calories in a single sitting, then engage in excessive exercise, take laxatives or force themselves to vomit. This is not an isolated incident, but continues regularly over a long period of time. Someone with bulimia might ransack the ‘fridge. and pantry to eat as much as they can in the shortest time possible. This is to fill a perceived empty stomach. After this, guilt sets in and vomiting is induced.
Binge Eating

Similar to bulimia because of the large quantity of food taken in, but in the case of binge eating, there’s a lack of control, even though the sufferer may have

bought in food specially for the binge session. Sessions can also be unplanned. This condition is not enjoyable for the binge eater. In fact, it causes distress and embarrassment to the eater. They realise they are eating faster than normal, that they are doing so without even being hungry, that they are eating in isolation from others and they are ashamed about it. They do not purge their food after eating.

The impact on oral health

If you are depriving your body of the vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive, then it will stop functioning as it should, and that lack of proper function includes the mouth. When your dentist examines your mouth, they may spot some of the signs, such as:

Enlarged salivary glands, mouth sores, dry mouth, cracked and dry lips, decay, sensitivity and mouth injury. Excessive contact with stomach acid, caused by regular vomiting, can erode the enamel of the teeth.

Be honest with your dentist, because that’s how they can help you. They are not there to judge and can prescribe a toothpaste with a high fluoride content, or a protective varnish for your teeth. It’s important that your dentist knows what’s going on and that you place your trust in people who know how to help.

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