Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Eating Disorder Awareness Week | Dental Health | Synergy Dental Clinic

The Effects on Dental Health

Eating Disorder Awareness Week (22nd – 28th February) is an important part in recognising the different conditions that many individuals can face at any age and from all backgrounds and walks of life. In the UK alone, around 725,000 women and men suffer from eating disorders that affect physical, psychological and social aspects of an individual.  Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder can affect your dental health as well as your general health.  Common dental problems can include enamel erosion, xerostomia (dry mouth) and tooth decay.

Bulimia Nervosa

Individuals diagnosed with bulimia nervosa usually experience the most damage to their teeth due to frequent vomiting.  Vomit contains highly erosive acid, which, when it comes into contact with teeth will cause the enamel to wear away.  Once the enamel has worn away, the vulnerable dentine and pulp is exposed to pain and sensitivity. You may notice that your teeth will start to look smoother, glassy and yellowish in appearance as the layers are worn away. Sufferers of bulimia nervosa may also find that their salivary glands will have swollen because of the frequent vomiting.

Anorexia Nervosa

Individuals who suffer from anorexia nervosa receive a lack of nutrients and can suffer dental problems such as osteoporosis (a condition affecting the bones) which can cause bone loss in the jaw and lead to tooth loss. Patients may be prescribed medicines to help counteract the condition such as dextrose tablets or sucrose drinks – these contain high levels of Vitamin C and can lead to acid erosion and tooth decay if consumed often.

Binge Eating Disorder

Those suffering from binge eating disorder can develop tooth decay due to the frequent binging on sugary food and drink. Teeth can also suffer from erosion from consuming acidic food and drink – particularly fruit juices and fizzy drinks.  Try to stick to eating sugary/acidic food and drink during mealtimes and only consume sugar-free snacks, water or milk between meals to try to reduce the risk of tooth decay and to help give your teeth the chance to re-mineralise after an attack. Avoid brushing your teeth straight after eating or drinking as this could further the damage.

Protecting Your Teeth from Attack

After vomiting, do not brush your teeth for about an hour as this will mean brushing the acid directly into the tooth surface and causing further damage.  Instead rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash to combat the effects of the acid wearing away your teeth.

After binging on sugary food and drink, again try to rinse your mouth with water/fluoride mouthwash and try to wait at least an hour after eating to brush teeth.  If you experience any pain or sensitivity, try using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

Who Can Help?

It is important that you visit your GP if you or someone you know are experiencing any signs of an eating disorder or are concerned about your own or their health and to visit your dentist for advice on keeping your teeth as healthy as possible. For more information and help on eating disorders go to 

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