Dental Guides

The Effects of Bulimia Nervosa on Dental Health

Although food is something that all of us need on a daily basis in order to survive, the reality is that there are many people who struggle when it comes to seeing food in a healthy way. As a matter of fact, according to the National Eating Disorder Association, there are approximately 10 million people within the United States who are currently battling with some form of an eating disorder. More specifically, around 2-3 out of every 100 Americans battle with bulimia.

And because eating disorders are something that many people feel shameful about, sometimes it’s hard for those who know and love the individuals who have them to initially detect a problem. However, if someone you care about seems to be obsessed about their weight, is constantly tired or irritable or you’ve caught vomiting and they’ve immediately provides excuses as to why, these are actually some telling signs that bulimia could be a part of their lifestyle. Another is if they start to have issues with their dental health.

If you’re curious to know about some of the effects that bulimia nervosa can have on an individual’s teeth and gums, we’ve enclosed a list of five damaging things that it can do, overtime, below:

Cavities. There are two main reasons why bulimia can lead to cavities. For one thing, because many people with bulimia tend to eat and then purge, they can find themselves eating a lot of sugar and carbs that can cause tooth decay. Also, because they tend to have a habit of vomiting their food back up, that can lead to plaque and tartar which, over time, can also cause cavities.

Bleeding gums. Bleeding gums is symptomatic of periodontal disease which is also something that can happen due to bulimia. When a person regurgitates their food on a regular basis, the stomach acid that comes back up can eventually irritate the lining of their throat as well as their gums, causing them to bleed.

Damaged teeth. When the body is not getting the proper nutrients that it needs, this can weaken the teeth and gums. If this is left unaddressed, it could eventually lead to loose teeth or ones that are so severely damaged that they’ll need a cap or dental crown to repair them.

Tooth sensitivity. If you were to consult with a dental office like Smile Effects about what can happen to someone’s mouth as a result of bulimia, one of the things that they might mention is that it can also make one’s teeth extremely sensitive. The reason why is because when someone is trying to hide their eating disorder, they usually will excessively brush their teeth and use a lot of mouthwash. This can start to strip away layers of enamel which causes the teeth to be extremely sensitive.

Anemia. Although many individuals do not immediately see the connection between bulimia and anemia, when you have an eating disorder, your body suffers from a low level of iron in the blood; iron is something that our entire body needs, including our teeth and gums. If we don’t get it, it could lead to a chronic form of gum disease that could ultimately result in tooth loss. For more information on how bulimia can affect one’s dental health, contact a local dentist within your area.

More to Read: