Eating Disorders and Dental Problems

Eating Disorders and Dental Problems
Your teeth can reveal a lot about your health habits. Heavy plaque buildup may reveal a starchy diet or poor dental hygiene while repeated thrush infections could indicate poorly controlled diabetes. Redness, oral sores and irritation may indicate an eating disorder. Eating disorders often go undiagnosed by primary care physicians because sufferers go to great lengths to hide their symptoms, but dentists can identify early changes and help the patient find relief.
Eating disorders can cause changes to the soft tissues in the mouth as well as the teeth themselves. Those with bulimia may have inflammation, mouth ulcers and characteristic dental erosion. These symptoms can also be associated with GERD, severe morning sickness or other conditions that cause frequent vomiting. Those with anorexia may have signs of nutritional deficiencies, such as irritation in the corners of the mouth, oral thrush, burning mouth, poor healing, gum disease and dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay.

If Dr. Frame identifies signs of an eating disorder, he may offer a medical referral as well as information on how to prevent your dental symptoms from worsening. Because eating disorders can be particularly tough to overcome, a good preventive strategy is essential. This may include more frequent fluoride treatments, cleanings and other treatments. After vomiting, rinse with water rather than brushing – which can damage your teeth even more – and chew sugar-free gum to combat dry mouth. Call us to learn more or to schedule your next dental exam with Dr. Frame.

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