Dietary habits play a role in oral health. If not treated well on time, eating disorders can cause permanent damage to the mouth and teeth. Self-starvation, technically known as anorexia nervosa or binge eating followed by vomiting (bulimia nervosa), creates deficiencies of iron, calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. It severely affects dental health by causing significant losses to our teeth and gums, thus disrupting overall oral health.
Anorexia Nervosa's Effects on Oral Health:
Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating disorder that is characterized by a distortion of being overweight. In reality, people with anorexia nervosa are not fat, but they perceive themselves to be fat. They have a wrong body image which is followed by an intense fear of becoming fat. As a result, they limit their diet, leading to several physical and mental health complications. The effects of anorexia nervosa on oral health are listed below.
Halitosis or foul breath is caused if there is a deficiency of vitamin B3 or niacin. Bad breath can lead to mouth infections and gives rise to bacterial growth.
Lack of adequate calcium and vitamin D intake results in bone loss or a disease known as osteoporosis. It further causes a significant loss to our teeth by making them fragile and brittle.
Lack of Vitamin B3 can result in canker sores. Whereas iron deficiency results in mouth ulcers that can cause sores that start spreading out of the mouth if not treated on time.
Without sufficient nutrients, the tooth enamel cannot be re-mineralized. And if tooth enamel gets disrupted, it leads to further problems like tooth sensitivity and tooth decay. Gum disease can also result from a lack of a nutritious diet, leading to other particular potential health concerns.
Bulimia Nervosa's Effects on Oral Health:
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that leads a person to overeat to the point that they vomit. It is characterized by recurring cycles of purging (forced vomiting, prolonged exercise, etc.) and bingeing (excessive eating). Frequent vomiting erodes the tooth enamel, and as a result, the risk of tooth decay becomes significantly more. The effects of bulimia nervosa on oral health are:
Frequent purging leads to sore throat and disrupts the soft tissue in the digestive tract.
Inflamed salivary glands:
Purging causes salivary glands to become enlarged and inflamed. As a result, chewing or swallowing becomes difficult.
Excessive eating leads to soft palate damage because it forms stomach acids. This eventually leads to tooth erosion by disrupting the tooth enamel.
If you suffer from excessive vomiting, especially after having a full meal, or see a drastic change in your teeth' size, color, or shape, your dentist will reveal the signs of an eating disorder. However, if treated on time, oral health conditions caused by eating disorders can be cured.
*Neither this nor any other content in this media is meant to prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. We highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition.