Can an eating disorder cause dental problems?
Bulimia and anorexia nervosa are two serious eating disorders. Each can cause problems in your mouth. Anorexia nervosa is an unnatural fear of gaining weight. Bulimia is a condition in which a person compulsively overeats and then induces vomiting to get rid of the food. Some anorectics also induce vomiting. The danger to teeth comes from the fact that the stomach acid generated by vomiting can severely erode tooth enamel. Adolescent and twenty- to thirty-year old females are most at risk for developing an eating disorder, although males can be affected, too.
When the dentist notices unusual enamel erosion on the teeth of a person who appears to be otherwise healthy, he might be able to raise the issue of an eating disorder. Depression often accompanies an eating disorder and a person, whether bulimic or anorexic will often get lax about oral hygiene. Problems like gum disease can develop. While the dentist can treat the appearance of the teeth with cosmetic dentistry, he can't cure the underlying issue. Regular trips to the dentist should be part of your overall plan for maintaining your health.