How Eating Disorders Affect the Teeth

Caring for your teeth at the Confidental Clinic in Purley.

When you first join a new dental practice, you will be asked to complete forms that indicate your general medical history. From time to time also, your dentist or hygienist may also ask if your medical history has changed.

There are good reasons for this, one of which is to make sure that any drugs you may be taking will not interact with any that we might prescribe, and also so that we are aware of any potential problems that might arise during surgery. For example, if you are on blood thinning medication, extra care has to be taken regarding healing following a procedure.

Eating disorders

Some medical conditions can also have a major impact on the health of your teeth, with eating disorders being amongst them. The two main ones of these are anorexia and bulimia. Both can have a major impact on your teeth and it is important that our Purley dental team are aware of any history of either of these conditions. There are two key ways in which eating disorders can affect your teeth. The first of this is nutritional intake.

Because bones and teeth both need calcium, along with other vitamins and minerals, in order to be healthy, anyone suffering with an eating disorder is likely to be deficient in these. This can weaken the enamel of the teeth and lead to dental decay and a large number of fillings and extractions.

Bulimia too can have the same impact, and, as vomiting is a regular factor, the teeth also come into frequent contact with stomach acids which help to erode the enamel of the teeth even faster. In addition to this, bulimia sufferers are also more likely to suffer from a dry mouth which is a well known precursor to gum disease.

Self image

We are aware that both anorexia and bulimia are highly complicated and complex problems that can have many different causes at the root of it. One factor that appears to play its role quite frequently is a perceived poor self image. This, in itself, requires specialist professional help. From a dental perspective though, and especially for those who are now recovering from these disorders, we can play our part in the recovery process by helping to restore the appearance of your teeth.

Following a thorough examination to determine the extent of any problems caused by eating disorders, we will provide a proposed treatment plan for discussion. This may consist of a number of restorative procedures, but, given the type of damage caused by eating disorders, the use of dental veneers to replace damaged enamel may be possible. Dental implants too, can offer recovering bulimia and anorexia sufferers a chance to restore the appearance of their smile and consequently, we hope, their own self image.

For more information and to arrange a confidential consultation with our Purley dental team, please call us on 020 8660 8923.