Can Eating Disorders Affect Your Mouth?

Can Eating Disorders Affect Your Mouth?

Dec 01, 2021

Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia are binge eating disorders that can all have adverse effects on the mouth, the symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Dental professionals are perhaps the first to identify the harmful effects of eating disorders. Research reveals that eating disorders affect oral health, causing the Oral Health Foundation to support Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

This blog post looks at the primary symptoms of the disorders described above, explaining how they affect your oral health and how your dental care provider can help you.

Anorexia Explained

Anorexia compels people to limit their food and beverage intake for fear of gaining weight. People affected by this disorder attribute their self-worth through their intake of calories and punish themselves for eating the wrong types of foods or overeating. Besides limiting their calorie intake, people will fear trying to get rid of excess calories and weight by exercising, vomiting, ingesting laxatives, or using enemas.

Bulimia Nervosa

Another binge eating disorder is bulimia nervosa, diagnosed on binge eating patterns of the affected people. To satisfy the criteria of getting diagnosed with bulimia, people must be taking in excess calories in one sitting and expelling the same using one of the methods described earlier. In addition, people must indulge in these habits for a prolonged period regularly.

Binge eating and purging patterns among people who have bulimia vary. However, many people with this condition are considered to be of healthy weight because the signs of weight often remain unnoticed. Some symptoms experienced by people with bulimia include bloating, constipation, abdominal pains, tiredness, and irregular menstrual cycles.

What Exactly Classifies a Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eaters were earlier classified as food addicts. However, the definition has now changed because the medical fraternity now has a better understanding of this condition. Binge eaters will often consume large quantities of food and beverages without feeling they are in control of their actions. The binge eating is planned ahead of time, with the affected individual purchasing special foods to binge or may even binge spontaneously.

Binge eaters do not overindulge in foods by having large portions because they are unpleasant experiences and cause embarrassment and distress among binge eaters.

A binge eating episode is characterized by eating faster than normal until the eater feels uncomfortably full or eating large portions of food when they are not hungry. Binge eaters often eat alone, embarrassed at the portions of food they serve themselves to eat. They also have feelings of disgust, shame, or guilt after the binge eating session. Unlike people affected by bulimia, binge eating disorders will not cause people to purge after binging.

The Effects of Eating Disorders on the Mouth

The eating disorders described in this article all have adverse effects on people’s bodies, and they require treatment for this severe condition. People suffer from vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, causing their bodies to shut down and function incorrectly. The effects of eating disorders on the body also reflect themselves in the mouth.

Some of the evident signs of eating disorders include enamel erosion, cracked and dry lips, tooth decay, xerostomia, enlarged salivary glands, sensitive teeth, gum disease, and mouth sores.

How Do Dental Care Providers Identify Eating Disorders?

The dentist in Westwood, NJ, and dental hygienists are appropriate professionals to identify the early warning signs of eating disorders. During routine exams and cleanings, the professionals check the soft and hard tissues of the mouth, looking for signs of tooth erosion and injuries induced by forcing objects into the mouth with the intention of vomiting.

Dentists can also identify signs of erosion from stomach acids which causes problems like cavities from excessive sugar consumption and symptoms of nutrient deficiencies.

When dentists detect people are suffering from an eating disorder, they will discuss the problem with them calmly after examining the clinical signs in the patient’s mouth. If required, they also consult about prescribing concentrated fluoride toothpaste or varnish to protect the patient’s teeth from decay.

People affected by eating disorders will help themselves express openness and honesty with their dental team if they wish to receive adequate help. People must trust their dental care provider because the professional does not judge them over any symptoms they are having. Getting over the disorder will help people overcome many issues with their overall and oral health, simultaneously putting them back in healthy condition all over again.

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