0

Eating Disorders And Your Mouth Health

photo

Dr Andre Clarke

Eating disorders are sometimes perceived as not very serious conditions. They are a group of serious conditions in which individuals are very preoccupied with food and weight and cannot focus on anything else. Food and weight becomes paramount in the individual’s world.

There are many types and subtypes of eating disorders, but the main types are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders can cause serious body and mouth problems and can even be life-threatening. These disorders predominantly affect women, but their prevalence and magnitude are growing in men.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an inability to maintain a normal body weight for one’s age and height. The individual usually has an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat and has a distorted body image. It is because of this reason that the individual refrains from eating.

Bulimia nervosa, unlike anorexia nervosa, is identified by recurrent episodes of binge eating (rapid eating of large quantities of food in a short time), followed by vomiting; the use of laxatives and diuretics; fasting or exercise to prevent weight gain.

When a person has a binge-eating disorder, the individual may eat when they are not hungry and continues eating long after they are uncomfortably full. The individual may try to diet or eat normal meals after a binge and this triggers a new episode of binging. It is worth noting that a binge eater can be of a normal weight, overweight or obese.

One dramatic mouth problem seen in eating disorders is tooth erosion stemming from self-induced vomiting. The chronic regurgitation of gastric contents causes smooth erosion of the inside surfaces of the upper teeth and of the grinding surfaces of the back teeth. It usually takes at least two years for the effects of the self-induced vomiting on the teeth to appear. The amount of stomach acid reaching the mouth and how often it reaches the mouth, will determine how much of the enamel is worn away. However, good mouth hygiene habits can slow the effects.

It is important though, to be aware that brushing immediately after vomiting would accelerate tooth erosion, instead of preventing it.

When the teeth are worn away, patients commonly complain of severe sensitivity to hot and cold. They also complain that the edges of fillings on back teeth appear higher than the nearby tooth structure. How the individual’s teeth come together is also often affected.

Another mouth effect of eating disorders is the enlargement of the salivary (spit) glands by the ear, under the angle of the jaw and under the chin. These enlargements can occur in about half of the persons affected by eating disorders.

The onset of the swellings may follow a binge-purge episode by several days. Initially the enlargements are often intermittent and may appear and disappear before becoming persistent. Unfortunately, there is no recommended treatment to reduce the size of the glands. The glands will usually return to their normal size when the binge-purge behaviour stops.

Dry mouth is yet another phenomenon in persons suffering from an eating disorder. Saliva flow rates are reduced by repeated induced vomiting; the overuse of laxatives and diuretics; and chronic dehydration resulting from fasting and vomiting. A dry mouth in combination with inevitable nutritional deficiencies usually causes varying degrees of gum disease and infections in the corner of the mouth.

It is also very common for individuals to experience bruising in the back of the throat due to the induction of vomiting by foreign objects. Foreign objects include fingers, combs and pens.

When a dentist learns that a patient has an eating disorder, he/she will ask many thorough questions in order to get a grasp of the habits of the patient and to establish trust. When young patients are afflicted with the disorder, their parents are encouraged to be involved. Dental treatment begins with rigorous hygiene and home care to prevent further destruction of tooth structure. These measures may include:

Topical fluoride application in the dental office to prevent further erosion and reduce hypersensitivity.

The daily home application of sodium fluoride gel in trays or applied with a toothbrush. This will promote hardening of enamel.

The daily application of a prescription fluoride dental paste.

The management of dry mouth.

Rinsing the mouth with water immediately after vomiting and following that rinse with a rinse of sodium fluoride to neutralize acids and protect tooth surfaces.

Definitive restorative dental treatment outside of palliative and preventative options, are usually delayed until the patient suffering from the eating disorder is stabilized psychologically. The rationale is that an acceptable prognosis for dental treatment depends on the patient ending the binge eating and vomiting habit.

Of particular significance, is that the past use of the appetite suppressant phentermine and fenfluramine or Phen-fen, may place the individual at risk for cardiac valvular disease. Those with a history of Phen-fen use for at least four months should have an echocardiogram and cardiac evaluation by a physician to determine the need for antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental procedures that induce bleeding.

If you or someone you know is afflicted with an eating disorder, please consider the mouth impact of the disorder and visit your oral healthcare professional for a comprehensive assessment.

Keep your mouth alive.

• This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended and may not be treated as, a substitute for professional medical/dental advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or dental professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical/dental condition. Never disregard professional medical/dental advice or delay in seeking it because of a purely informational publication.

If you have questions, please send email to dr_andreclarke@hotmail.com.

Comments

karina 6 years, 7 months ago

I had no idea that eating disorder could be related to mouth problems as well. We all need to put a lot of stress on dental health, it is essential to go for regular dental check ups for keeping the dental problems at bay. For my dental problems I always rely on http://sunshineortho.com/">Sunshine Orthodontics.

0

albala 6 years, 2 months ago

Many people have different sort of eating disorders. From compulsory eating to refusal of food, all of these having a very significant impact on one's health. It's even harder to help these people as they, most often, don't want to realize they have a problem! If this first step could be overcome, there are ways to make these people return to a healthy lifestyle: from http://www.paramount-supplements.com/...">diet pills and exercise to psychological therapy.

0

dana 6 years, 7 months ago

Eating disorders could have severe effect on your health if you left these problems untreated. You must take medical help whenever you notice problems. Recently I was having digestive disorder, so I immediately went for treatment at Dr. Schub’s Maryland Gastroenterology Practice, I found out about this clinic at http://drschub.com/">http://drschub.com/.

0

isabella 6 years, 7 months ago

If you just stay aware of these problems and their symptoms you could certainly keep these problems at bay. As far as dental problems are concerned make sure you go for regular dental check up, for my dental issues I always rely on http://nikodemdental.com/">Nikodem Dental Care.

0

leonardo85 6 years, 7 months ago

This is really incredible to think that eating disorder could cause gum disease and dental disorders. It is best to keep both problems at bay by consulting with the right physician and dentist. Many renowned dentists have web presence online such as http://candaceevansdds.com/">http://candaceevansdds.com/.

0

karina 6 years, 7 months ago

Eating disorders could seriously affect your health and well being. Employers should be more careful if any of their employees has eating disorder, the best thing would be to take help of corporate wellness program offered by http://incentahealth.com/">incentaHEALTH.

0

dana 6 years, 6 months ago

Teens are more prone to developing eating disorder than adults because of their weight loss obsession. The parents need to be concerned about their kids' dental health. I have been associated with the orthodontic facility of http://www.mydrfox.com/">Dr Fox for a long time and most of the patients we receive here are teenagers.

0

isabella 6 years, 6 months ago

If you are having eating disorder then you also need to be in touch with your dentist along with your doctor. Even if you do not have a dental problem you should consider going for frequent check ups. That is what I do, I go for regular dental check ups at http://wickhamdentalcare.com/">wickham dental care.

0

karina 6 years, 5 months ago

If you follow a good dental hygiene then you could certainly avoid many dental problems. I am a dentist by profession in http://www.quality-dentalcare.com">Vineland, I always advise my patients to follow a good dental care routine at home.

0

holymoly 6 years, 2 months ago

There are many people who are suffering of eating disorders and they need support in order to get better. Last year I've decided together with two of my best friends to start helping these people. Natalia is working as a nutritionist, Hannah is a doctor and I've taken a http://www.netafit.org/certification/">personal trainer certification from NETA. We've opened a health center where we give advice about how to loose weight, have a healthy lifestyle and I am working as a trainer at the gym.

0

swadhinagarwal 6 years, 1 month ago

There is a third type of eating disorder that is associated with the excessive tolerance of foods and overeating or "compulsive consumption. This is just a way to get rid of depression and boredom that has on people's lives. http://couponlay.in/stores/jabong-cou...">Jabong Coupons

0

leonardo85 6 years, 1 month ago

Although most of us are familiar with the eating disorders, we hardly have the idea that these disorders could somehow affect our oral health. I think we should always stay in touch with our dentist, it would help us keep our dental problems away. The parents too have to be careful about their children's dental health, they should take them to good pediatric dentistry facility. You can find such dental facilities online as well, for instance, you can find the famous clinic 264-KIDS online at http://www.264kids.com">http://www.264kids.com.

0

dana 5 years, 8 months ago

Not many people have the knowledge that eating disorders could actually cause dental issues. However, it is essential to get treatment for both kind of problems. If you get regular dental check up done then you could keep many dental issues at bay. You can find many good dental care facility online now, for instance, at http://midlothiandentalarts.net">http://midlothiandentalarts.net you can find Midlothian Dental Arts.

1

zumb44 5 years, 8 months ago

Mouth health is very important for everyone. Health care assistance have to be available to everyone. This is why there is an http://www.emergencyusatysons.com">emergency care clinic which offers medical services at affordable prices. A healthy life starts with a harmonious lifestyle.

1

isabella 5 years, 7 months ago

There are many people who suffer from eating disorder, but not many of them are aware of the fact that eating disorders could also affect their dental health. It would be better if you go for regular dental check up at a facility like A-101 Dental Care, PC, it is a reputed http://scottsdaledentaloffices.com/">Scottsdale family dentistry clinic.

1

zumb44 5 years, 7 months ago

Food and health can be a dangerous combination in some situations. Recent research shows that one would benefit a lot if they http://nutritioninstitute.com/">consider a yeast-free diet and give up on sugar and gluten products. Taking care of one's health is paramount.

0

leonardo85 5 years, 7 months ago

Eating disorders can have severe effect on your health, so if you are suffering from any kind of eating problems you should immediately go to your doctor. There are facilities available which offer good treatment solutions, one such a place is Eating Disorder Center of San Diego, you can access them at http://healingwithinreach.com/">http://healingwithinreach.com/.

0

Sign in to comment