One of the most overlooked areas of health is oral hygiene. Poor dental habits can lead to several serious illnesses, and one that often flies under the radar is eating disorders. Eating disorders affect more than just your body; they can also cause damage to your mouth and teeth that may go unnoticed until it’s too late. This blog post will discuss how eating disorders affect your oral health and when you must go to a dentist.
Let’s get started.
- Enamel erosion
This is a condition that usually happens because of acidity in some foods and drinks or through the process of vomiting, which involves stomach acids being pushed up against your mouth. It can also be caused by malnutrition from an eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder or other types of disordered eating.
Dentist Glen Innes can help correct this issue and advise you on what to avoid to prevent it from happening again.
- Enlarged salivary glands
Bulimics are known for having enlarged salivary glands, which can cause discomfort when eating. If left untreated, the swollen tissue surrounding the tongue may become damaged, causing a condition known as geographic tongue, where areas of redness mark out geographical regions on the tongue’s surface.
- Mouth sores
Eating disorders can cause your mouth to develop small cuts, ulcers or sores. This is because you may be suffering from dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), throwing up after meals and bulimic vomiting. If left untreated, these sores could become infected, leading to swelling in the gums, bleeding problems, and tooth decay followed by additional infections that spread through your body.
- Sensitive teeth
The nerves of the teeth are exposed to damage by acidic foods and beverages. This can cause pain or sensitivity in your mouth that is not easily explained if you have an eating disorder, but it may be due to acid eroding at the enamel of your teeth over time.
- Dry mouth
When you don’t eat enough food, your mouth can become dry and uncomfortable. This is because the salivary glands cannot produce saliva as much, and this lack of moisture irritates the soft tissues in the mouth. The harder it becomes for these glands to function properly over time if they are not given anything to work with, so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Cracked/dry lips
When your body is deprived of the food it needs, you may start to experience chapped lips. This can be caused by dehydration which occurs when you do not drink enough water or eat foods that contain lots of moisture, like fruits and vegetables. Your lips are particularly sensitive even if they don’t look peeling, so try to avoid licking them with dry air in the winter months.
- Tooth decay
One of the most common effects that eating disorders can have on your mouth is tooth decay. When you don’t eat enough food or purge what little food you consume, this can lead to serious dental problems such as cavities and gum disease. If untreated, these conditions will only get worse over time.
The Bottom Line
When you have an eating disorder, the health of your mouth is also affected. Your teeth can become damaged, your gums may recede, and you could have gum disease. It is always crucial for you to take care of your dental health and make sure to visit a dentist if you’ve been suffering from the above issues.