The Effects of Bulimia on Your Teeth

Feb 18th, 2012 | By | Category: Dental News

fresno_dentist_bulimiaEveryone knows that carbonated drinks and sugary treats are bad for the teeth, but do you understand why? These substances are highly acidic, which leads to erosion of the tooth enamel, leaving the teeth sensitive and more vulnerable to developing cavities. You can avoid subjecting your teeth to these foods and drinks, but what if you have a condition that exposes your teeth to a different type of acid on a regular basis? If you have bulimia, you may be harming your teeth far more than someone with a daily soda habit.

What is bulimia?

Bulimia nervosa, often shortened to “bulimia,” is an eating disorder characterized by binging on food and then purging, either through vomiting or laxative use. Bulimia is most common among young women and adolescent girls who are often at a normal weight but see themselves as overweight. Bulimics eat large amounts of food in one sitting and then purge to prevent weight gain. The binging is often done in secret which leads to shame, followed by purging to provide relief.

How does bulimia affect the teeth?

Tooth damage from bulimia is caused by the acid in vomit. Repeated vomiting throughout the day exposes the teeth to stomach acids, which strip away the tooth enamel. Once the tooth enamel is eroded, you are more vulnerable to tooth decay and mouth infections. Signs of enamel erosion from bulimia include worn, yellow, or sensitive teeth, especially on the backs of the upper teeth. Frequent vomiting can also cause swelling of the parotid salivary glands inside the cheeks.

What treatments are available?

Your first course of action should be to seek treatment by a physician and a psychotherapist to address the root cause of your bulimia. Once you have stopped purging and exposing your teeth repeatedly to stomach acids, Drs. Denes and Denes can begin treatment. To restore, protect, and improve the appearance of your teeth, they offer several procedures, including porcelain veneers, porcelain onlays and inlays, crowns, and composite bonding. They may also recommend regular fluoride treatments to provide further protection for your tooth enamel.

If your teeth have been damaged by an eating disorder, the time to seek treatment is now. Restoring your teeth is an important step in your recovery, so call Drs. Alex and Claudia Denes today at (559) 297-1800 to schedule your consultation. Fresno Dental Studio happily treats patients from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.

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