Dentists are often the first people to notice that someone has an eating disorder. Those with bulimia, have a noticeable difference in the condition of their teeth and a loss of teeth is not an uncommon occurrence.
Bulimia is an eating disorder where the sufferer overeats and then induces vomiting, by pushing fingers or using an implement such as a toothbrush into the back of the mouth.
Sunita Verma from Sparkle Dental Boutique Kew says “Bulimia can cause very serious dental problems. Gastric acid found in the mouth as a result of vomiting causes the tooth enamel to erode and the teeth can become soft. The gums also start to erode causing fillings to jut out over the gum line. In severe cases, if the condition is left untreated the final outcome could be the complete loss of all teeth.
In terms of dental advice for those suffering from bulimia, you should not brush your teeth immediately after vomiting as this will turn the teeth yellow and will also speed up the tooth decay process. Rinsing the mouth with water is a better option and in addition, chewing gum will also help combat the effects of gastric acid on the teeth. A fluoride mouthwash and tooth paste is advisable to help reduce tooth decay.
For those who have a huge wearing down of enamel, we can restore these teeth with crowns. A crown strengthens existing, damaged teeth so as to preserve its functionality. Crowns also improve the aesthetics of your smile.”
Sunita says “Bulimia is an illness that in the majority, affects women of all ages. Many patients don’t like to say that they are suffering from bulimia but their dental health reveals a different story. We have an all female team who are sympathetic and caring when seeing patients whose dental health has suffered as a result of bulimia. Fortunately, there is a lot of help available and it is vital that if anyone is suffering from bulimia that they come in to see us, so that we can help to reduce any further damage to the teeth.”