According to Dr. Julie Storm from Timberview Family Dentistry, eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia and Binging and Purging cause serious problems for your overall health, and your teeth and gums.
People with anorexia or bulimia, or people who binge and purge, have a distorted body image and are never happy with the way they look and will punish themselves by limiting their food intake and by over exercising. People with eating disorders are preoccupied with body weight and food.
Anorexics see themselves as fat relative to body type and height. This life threatening illness can last for decades or a lifetime. People with anorexia starve themselves in an attempt to be, “Perfect,” which will never happen in their eyes. Food restriction causes malnutrition, which not only affects the body, but the teeth and gums as well. Dr. Storm explains that without proper food intake, the enamel and gum tissue will weaken leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
Unlike anorexics, bulimics eat before purging. Although most people believe that bulimics gorge themselves that is often not the case. Some bulimics throw up everything they eat, while other bulimics will hit the drive-through five times before heading to the restroom to bring everything back up. When bulimics throw up, the stomach acid erodes the teeth. Acid erosion causes both dental caries and gingivitis, or the more serious periodontal disease.
People who binge and purge often go through periods where they do nothing but eat. Junk food consisting of sugary sweets, starchy and fried foods will be consumed in mass quantities only to be purged after the episode. Just like bulimics, people who binge and purge bring up stomach acid that damages teeth and gums.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, seek medical attention. It’s also a good idea to schedule a dental appointment to make sure that your teeth and gums have not been damaged by eating disorders.