Los Algodones Dentists Guide

How Eating Disorders Affect Oral Health


Bulimia Nervosa, Anorexia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder are some of the most common forms of eating disorders that exist. These illnesses can affect both men and women.

Irregular eating habits, the obsession with food, body weight, and body shape are the first signs that indicate that there’s an eating disorder. Eating disorders are considered as life-threatening illnesses that affect a person’s emotional and physical health, as well as many others aspects of its life like the performance in school or work, the self-image and the ability to socialize

But what some people may don’t know is that this is one of the medical conditions that can lead to oral health problems.

Types of Eating Disorders:

  • Bulimia Nervosa:

    People with bulimia tend to have some moments of overeating in a day or along a week, consuming an excessive amount of food that includes high levels of carbohydrates and fat. To compensate the excessive consumption of foods full of calories, bulimics purge themselves to avoid gaining weight. For this, they can use diuretics, laxatives enemas or the self-induced vomiting.

  • Anorexia Nervosa:

    We talk about anorexia when the person has a chronic fear of gaining weight and becoming fat, that leads him to control and restrict every of its foods and to exercise in an excessive way. People with this condition also tend to have its moments of eating in a compulsive way and then they purge themselves by using laxatives, enemas, diuretics or self-induced vomiting.

  • Binge Eating Disorder:

    This type of eating disorder consists in a compulsive overeating,  but most of the time the persons that have this disorder don’t use purges to avoid gaining weight after a binge eating. It isn’t that this patient don’t feel guilty of eating, but instead of expressing its regrets of eating in excess trying to throw up, they just keep overeating to deal with it.

The Connection Between Eating Disorders And Oral Health:

The first signs of an eating disorder can be easily identified by a dentist in a dental check-up, in fact, a dentist is often the first of the health professionals to observe any sign or symptom that indicates that there’s an eating disorder.

It is possible to determine if someone is having issues with eating disorders by a dentist check-up because this type of illnesses can have some reppercussion to your oral health.

How is The Oral Health Affected by Eating Disorders?

Here are some reasons that explain how struggeling with eating disorders can lead to oral health complications:

  • Bleeding gums:

    Not having a proper utrition affects the gum and other soft tissues inside the mouth, making them prone to bleed.

  • Dry Mouth:

    As a consequence of eating disorders, the salivary glands, which produces the saliva and releases into the mouth, may swell and reduce the production of saliva. The lack of the saliva flow in the mouth is called Dry Mouth and it can lead to many other oral health complications as bad breath, periodontal disease or cracked lips.

  • Damages to the teeth:

    The frequently throwing up is very harmful to the teeth. When the stomach acid is constantly in contact with the teet it can affect the tooth enamel causing is loss and making the teeth change its color, shape and lenght. The stomach acid also can cause sensitivity on the teeth.