The wellness of your teeth and gums is important, but your overall physical and emotional health should be a priority. Unfortunately, many people are unable to follow a healthy lifestyle due to eating disorders. If you are one of 10 million Americans suffering with an eating disorder, seeking professional help is imperative to live a healthier life.
Characterized by binging and purging food, bulimia is a serious disorder that damages your interior organs. Not only is bulimia life-threatening, but it can also cause significant damage to your mouth, teeth, and gums. Using this guide, you can understand and treat the dental damage of bulimia after receiving therapy for your eating disorder.
Unfortunately, binging on unhealthy foods and then purging by vomiting is not allowing your body to receive important vitamins and minerals. Lack of nourishment affects your bodily systems, energy levels, emotional wellness, and oral health. By binging and then vomiting your food, you are putting your teeth and gums at risk in the following ways:
- Enamel Damage – Vomit contains acids from the stomach, which can eat away at your tooth enamel. Decreased enamel allows food particles to stick to your teeth easier, leading to stains and discoloration. Over time, the damage places your teeth at risk for cavities, decay, and infections.
- Dry Mouth – Your glands produce 1 to 2 liters of saliva a day, which is necessary for rinsing food and bacteria from your mouth. Unfortunately, vomiting increases the amount of acids in your mouth, which prevents natural saliva production. A dry mouth is an appealing space for bacteria to breed, leading to decay and infections.
- Cavities – Eating an excessive amount of sugary foods and drinks also contributes to tooth decay and cavities. If left untreated, you may lose one or more teeth due to decay.
- Pain – Eroded enamel can increase tooth sensitivity when eating certain foods or drinking hot or cold beverages. Untreated infections can also become very painful.
- Mouth Sores – The stomach acids in vomit also affect the tissue around your teeth. Many bulimics develop sores on the roof of their mouth, around their gums, and on their lips. Continued purging may result in these sores rupturing and bleeding.
- Grinding – You may experience severe anxiety, paranoia, or worry over your bulimia. This added stress may cause you to clench and grind your teeth while resting. Over time, these acts will wear down your teeth, leading to decay, pain, and issues with your bite.
If you are ready for a healthier life and receiving treatment for your eating disorder, consult your dentist for options to repair the damage to your teeth. Your dentist will be able to clean and whiten teeth, treat cavities, and repair minor cosmetic issues.
Completely restoring lost tooth enamel is difficult, but fluoride treatments may improve patches of weakened enamel. Your doctor will most likely prescribe medicated ointments to heal mouth sores, as well.
If your bulimia has lasted a few years, you may require a full restoration on your smile.
Dental implants are great options if you have lost one or more missing teeth. If you require a more involved treatment to restore multiple teeth, porcelain veneers may be a good option. Veneers are durable, permanent, and natural covers for your damaged teeth. The investment in porcelain veneers is a large expense, so ongoing counseling is recommended to ensure your bulimia does not become a problem in the future.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious problem that affects your physical and emotional health. Using this guide, you will understand the dental dangers of this eating disorder and find the best treatments to restore your smile. Check out sites like http://www.nwidentist.com/ for more information.