How Can Eating Disorders Affect Your Dental Hygiene?
Dietary habits can and do influence oral health. Changes in the mouth are frequently the first physical manifestations of an eating disorder. The nutritional deficiencies and bad habits that often accompany disordered eating can have a negative impact on one’s dental health.
An eating disorder can damage the teeth and mouth for a long time, if not permanently. Early detection of eating disorders may result in a more efficient and successful recovery period for both the teeth and the body. Damage to your teeth and mouth can be mitigated by arming yourself with the necessary information and seeking appropriate advice from your dentist in Smithfield.
Eating Disorders Dental Effects
Your gums and other soft tissue in your mouth may bleed easily if you don’t get enough nutrition. Saliva-producing glands may swell. Chronic dry mouth may occur in some people.
Food restriction frequently results in nutritional deficiency. Calcium, iron and B vitamins are all nutrients that promote oral health. Inadequate calcium promotes tooth decay and gum disease; even if an anorexic consumes enough calcium, it requires vitamin D to absorb it.
Inadequate iron can promote the development of mouth sores. Insufficient vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) levels can contribute to bad breath and the development of canker sores. Gingivitis causes gums to become red and swollen, almost glossy in appearance. Dehydration can cause the mouth to become extremely dry and the lips to become reddened, dry, and cracked.
Strong stomach acid flows over the teeth repeatedly due to frequent vomiting. As a result, the tooth’s outer covering (enamel) can be lost, causing teeth to change color, shape, and length, becoming brittle, translucent, and weak. In addition, eating cold or hot food or drink may cause discomfort.
Tissue loss and erosive lesions on the mouth’s surface are possible. Teeth edges frequently become thin and easily break off. In severe cases, the pulp may become exposed, resulting in infection, discoloration, or even pulp death. Excessive tooth brushing or rinsing after vomiting can actually aggravate tooth decay.
Degenerative arthritis of the temporomandibular joint in the jaw is a dental complication that is frequently linked to eating disorders. This is the joint connecting the lower jaw to the skull. When arthritis develops in this joint, it can cause joint pain, chronic headaches, and difficulty chewing and opening/closing the mouth.
Purging can cause scratches, redness, and cuts inside the mouth, particularly on the upper surface known as the soft palate.’ Such damage is a red flag for dentists because healthy daily habits rarely cause harm to this area. Cuts or bruises frequently accompany soft palate damage on the knuckles due to an individual’s teeth pressing against the skin while purging.
A frequent binge-and-purge cycle can cause salivary gland enlargement. Enlarged glands can be painful and uncomfortable. In addition, enlarged glands can be painful and are frequently visible to others, causing emotional distress.
How to Treat the Eating Disorders Effects on Your Oral Health
Maintain a regular brushing and flossing schedule to treat eating disorder-related oral issues. If you purge, use a baking soda rinse instead of brushing excessively to help neutralize the acid in your mouth. Dental hygiene care is paramount in helping with the effects of the eating disorders
See your dentist regularly, be truthful with them, and consult them on specific dental needs. They will be able to determine the best approach for your teeth. Professional help for an eating disorder can save a person’s life. Early intervention and detection at Webber Comprehensive Dentistry are ideal.
Treatment is highly personalized and will depend on the type of eating disorder, its severity and duration, your support system, and whether you have any other co-occurring mental health or medical conditions to manage.
Treatment at your clinic could include the following:
- Individual and group therapies are available.
- Medical attention and monitoring
- Nutritional advice and assistance.
Depending on the needs and circumstances, treatment can be provided in inpatient and outpatient settings. Therapies may include family-based and behavioral options, which can aid in developing self-esteem and a positive relationship with food. These methods can also teach you how to identify and manage potential stressors and triggers.
Medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers can be beneficial in treating an eating disorder, especially if another mental illness is present. However, medications work best when combined with therapeutic methods. Visit our Smithfield dental clinic for any oral care and advice.