Recognizing Anorexic or Bulimic Teeth Problems

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Millions of people in America suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorders. Symptoms include preoccupation with eating and weight and unhealthy eating behaviors. Anorexia patients eat very small amounts of food and essentially starve themselves in an effort to lose weight or maintain an unnaturally low weight. Those with bulimia eat copious amounts of food and purge by vomiting, increasing activity or taking laxatives. The vomiting and malnutrition associated with eating disorders often causes acid erosion on teeth and other dental changes, and dentists are often the first people to see signs of these serious illnesses.

Symptoms of Anorexic and Bulimic Teeth

Eating disorders often start early in life. Parents may not recognize signs of anorexia or bulimia if behaviors are hidden, but signs of an eating disorder become apparent during a routine dental appointment. When a dentist can spot warning signs early, there is a better chance for parents to get help for their children before serious medical problems develop. Anorexic and bulimic teeth are often identified by the following signs and symptoms:

  • Worn teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Acid erosion on teeth caused by frequent vomiting
  • Chipped or thinning enamel
  • Teeth that appear translucent
  • Tender or enlarged salivary glands
  • Dry mouth or cracked lips
  • Mouth sores
  • Bleeding gums

Managing Bulimia Effects on Teeth

Dentists who discover an eating disorder usually recommend medical follow-up or behavioral therapy to address the illness. They can also teach the patient how to minimize the effects of unhealthy behaviors. For example, patients who induce vomiting should immediately rinse with club soda or sugarless mouth rinse to neutralize the stomach acid in their mouths that causes acid erosion on teeth. Unfortunately, eating disorders can remain hidden until permanent damage to teeth has occurred. In these cases, problems related to anorexic or bulimic teeth can be corrected by tooth implants or cosmetic dentistry.

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Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Atlanta. With 8 affiliated practices throughout Georgia, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates of Georgia, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates of Georgia.

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