- Stomach acids destroy the enamel
- Acidic drinks deform the shape of the teeth
- Starvation leads to gingivitis
- Eating disorders cause tooth decay, hypersensitivity and discoloration
- How to protect teeth in case of eating disorders?
- Dental treatment for eating disorders
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Obsessive eating disorders have a negative effect on mental he alth and the he alth of the body. The most common eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, disrupt the work of many organs, including the oral cavity. What kind of dental damage and diseases can be caused by eating disorders and accompanying vomiting?
Eating disorders, incl. anorexia, or anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa are serious mental illnesses that negatively affect the entire body. According to the National Disorder Association, as many as 70 million people worldwide suffer from this type of disorder. These conditions are most common among adolescents, especially girls, but may also appear later in life.
Anorexia and bulimia rely on the so-called compulsive behaviors. People with bulimia first overeat and then provoke vomiting in order to get rid of food from the stomach, and people with anorexia drastically, often almost completely reduce their food consumption, and those eaten also remove with the help of vomiting. Both behaviors are caused by obsessive weight control. The symptoms of both disorders can be not only the attitude to nutrition or certain behavior patterns, but also the condition of the mouth and teeth.
- Eating disorders cause significant damage to the teeth, gums, and the entire mouth. The vomiting that is provoked then causes the stomach acid to enter the oral cavity, which destroys the enamel, the outer tissue that surrounds and protects the tooth. We are talking about acid enamel erosion, i.e. the loss of tooth hard tissues. The enamel is thinner and thinner until it is almost gone, exposing sensitive dentin and causing pain. An experienced dentist will easily recognize enamel erosion because it gives a very characteristic clinical picture of the teeth, says the drug. stom. Joanna Oleksiak from Stankowscy & Białach Stomatologia.
Stomach acids destroy the enamel
According to research carried out at Helsinki University Central Hospital, the risk of dental erosion among people suffering from bulimia may be 1.5-6 times higher than in he althy people. Enamel damage caused by vomiting most often occurs on the palatine side of the upper and lateral teeth and at the gum line around the incisors. Initially, shallow recesses osmooth and shiny surface, distinguishable from he althy enamel. With constant exposure to gastric acids, the enamel is less and less, the teeth wear down and lose volume. They can also be more yellow, which indicates that the dentin, the inner layer of the tooth that is naturally yellow in color, is exposed. Even the dental pulp can be exposed. The consequence of bulimia nervosa may be gastroesophageal reflux disease, also present at night, which means that enamel erosion can occur even if the patient is not aware of it.
- Tooth damage caused by reflux usually occurs on one side of the jaw, depending on the sleeping position, explains Joanna Oleksiak.
Acidic drinks deform the shape of the teeth
Some patients with anorexia or bulimia drink many liters of carbonated drinks a day to fill an empty stomach or induce vomiting. These drinks, due to their acidic pH and a large amount of sugar, ruin the teeth even more, causing their damage on the outside. In particular, they cause deformation of the molars. Molars can lose their shape and height as a result of acidic drinks, causing occlusal disturbances. Finally, in extreme cases of anorexia, the gums recede and the tooth root is also exposed to acids.
Starvation leads to gingivitis
As a result of starvation, the body of a person suffering from eating disorders is malnourished, it lacks all the building blocks and nutrients - e.g. vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin D. reduced salivation and a dry mouth, which in turn may lead to gingivitis.
Eating disorders cause tooth decay, hypersensitivity and discoloration
Teeth devoid of enamel and saliva are not properly protected and the body's defenses are weakened. This is why patients with eating disorders are at a higher risk of caries. This disease is further aggravated by sweet drinks drunk to induce vomiting, as well as sweet foods consumed during the binge eating phase.
The consequence of the loss of hard tissues is tooth sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures, sour and sweet foods, and even brushing. On the other hand, dentin, after contact with food, is more prone to unsightly discoloration.
If the eating disorder is not treated causally, erosion of tooth enamel can be irreversible. The edges of the teeth become thinner, crumble and crack, also under the influence of mechanical damage. In some patients, the worn incisors may be only a few millimeters high.
How to protect teeth in case of eating disorders?
Many patients who want to get rid of the unpleasant aftertaste after vomiting make a radical mistake - they brush their teeth right away by rubbing caustic acids into the enamel, which weakens them even more. Some of them brush their teeth even several times a day, exposing them to additional damage. Meanwhile, dentists recommend that after an incident of vomiting, rinse your mouth with water, water with baking soda or milk, and brush your teeth only after min. 30 minutes after vomiting.
- We brush our teeth from the gum line down the tooth. We do this with a soft-bristled toothbrush with an alkaline pH and a low abrasion index to protect the enamel as much as possible. It is also worth chewing sugar-free gum, which will help stimulate the production of saliva and help with gastroesophageal reflux - says Joanna Oleksiak.
Dental treatment for eating disorders
Patients with eating disorders should be under the care of not only a psychiatrist and therapist, but also specialists in many different fields of medicine - including a dentist. The patient during or after the treatment of eating disorders requires comprehensive dental treatment, including treatment of carious lesions, removal of tartar, replacement of fillings, and often also multi-stage procedures, e.g. root canal treatment, tooth extraction and treatment of dentin hypersensitivity. Aesthetic defects are also significant, so damaged tooth crowns require prosthetic reconstruction.
- Such a patient often has a problem with accepting his appearance, and teeth damaged by a disease can be another source of complexes. That is why prosthetic and cosmetic procedures are equally important. For this purpose, we can use special veneers fixed on the palatine side, which saves the patient's own tooth as much as possible. Veneers strengthen the tooth structure and allow you to correct its shape and mask discoloration. We can also protect the cavities of enamel and dentin with a composite material, a crown or the so-called overlay. The basis, however, is the treatment of the underlying disease, we can only try to minimize dental damage - says Joanna Oleksiak.
Prepared on the basis of press materials.