Both bulimia and anorexia nervosa can have devastating effects on your oral health! Bulimics often binge and then purge (vomit) to get rid of the food. This practice causes teeth to constantly be bathed in stomach acid which erodes tooth enamel (especially on the back side of the teeth). Additionally, bulimia may lead to swollen glands, dry mouth and/or bleeding gums and a burning tongue. Anorexics deprive their bodies of nutrition by purposefully starving themselves to avoid weight gain. Without proper nutrition, anorexics often develop osteoporosis which causes bone loss and weakens tooth enamel. Weakened tooth enamel can lead to chipping or cracking teeth.
Because of the direct relationship between oral health and overall health is so strong, a dentist may be the first person to suspect an eating disorder. If you believe you have an eating disorder, please speak to your doctor, dentist, school nurse or parents about getting treatment.