First Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder may be seen by Dentists
It is often the pain and discomfort related to dental complications that first causes a person suffering from an eating disorder to consult with a health professional. Dentists are often the first health professionals to observe signs and symptoms of eating disorders.
The frequent vomiting and nutritional deficiencies often associated with eating disorders can severely affect oral health. The digestive system contains strong acids that break down food. When vomiting is used to purge food from the body, these acids attack tooth enamel. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, studies find up to 89 percent of bulimic patients have signs of tooth erosion, due to the effects of powerful stomach acid.
Common Conditions seen by Dentists:
- Changes in the color (translucency), shape and length of teeth
- Loss of tooth enamel
- Teeth sensitive to hot and cold.
- Salivary glands may swell, causing the jaw to widen and appear squarish.
- Lips may become reddened, dry and cracked
- Chronic dry mouth
The Department of Public Health says: “If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder please seek the help of a physician or mental health provider. Damage to the teeth and enamel due to eating disorders can be treated – see your dental professional for treatment options.”
Learn More – Call 800-236-7524.
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