How Bulimia Affects Your Oral Health

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How Bulimia Affects Your Oral Health

Bulimia nervosa, frequently referred to as bulimia, is a not-uncommon eating disorder wherein the afflicted person engages in periods of serious overeating, sometimes called binging, and follows it with episodes of self-induced purging by making themselves throw up. One of the many side effects of bulimia nervosa is severe damage to the person’s teeth. This damage will become quickly visible, causing the patient both pain and embarrassment. 

Listed below are a few of the common impacts that bulimia can have on your teeth and how you may be able to treat it.

What Does Bulimia Do To My Teeth?

Eating disorders of any kind have many kinds of major repercussions on not just your overall health, but your oral health as well. People with bulimia nervosa, however, typically see more damage than those with other types of eating disorders because of the periods of binging and purging. The amounts and type of food eaten throughout a binge notwithstanding, the harm that frequent purging does to your teeth and gums will be substantial.

Whenever you purge, you are bringing up gastric acids from inside your stomach. These acids are extremely erosive, meaning they are capable of eating away at the enamel on your teeth. Repeated, prolonged exposure to gastric acid will damage not only your teeth but the soft tissue that lines the inside of your mouth in numerous ways. 

It doesn’t take long either, as inside of six months, most symptoms will be noticeable, including:

  • Tooth erosion takes place as your tooth enamel erodes.
  • Cavities will evolve at a faster rate.
  • Teeth turn brittle and yellow.
  • In some instances, damage to the teeth disturbs bite alignment.
  • Repeated purging will result in the salivary glands to distend and affect their ability to manufacture saliva.
  • Sores will likely develop inside the mouth.

Can the Damage Done to My Teeth Be Treated?  

How Bulimia Affects Your Oral Health

If you find yourself throwing up often, it is important that you take certain measures to safeguard your teeth and overall oral health. There are a few things you can do to lessen the damage, such as:

  • Do not miss dental appointments. Those regular cleanings will help, and your dental professional will be able to prescribe appropriate treatment options.
  • Fluoride makes the enamel on your teeth stronger, so be sure to brush with a toothpaste that says it contains fluoride and is approved by the American Dental Association.
  • Never brush your teeth immediately after you throw up because it will make things worse. Rinsing with water to eliminate as much acid as possible is a much safer way to go.

San Diego Area Dentistry

At McBride Dental, we want to help you and your family do everything possible to have and preserve healthy teeth and gums. By scheduling regular appointments with your California family dentist and practicing the oral care techniques we teach you, your whole family will easily maintain teeth that are healthy, strong, and effective.

The San Marcos offices of Dr. Michael McBride are staffed with reputable, professional San Diego area dentists that are ready to address any concerns you may have regarding common dental procedures, as well as preventative, cosmetic, or restorative dentistry. We also provide sedation dentistry treatments as an option for our patients with severe dental anxiety.

It is our job to help you and your family establish healthy dental habits to make sure that your teeth will always be there when you need them and your smile will always look great.

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