Professional Advice - Jovan Prosthodontics
BulimiaDid you know that tooth problems are one of the most common issues stemming from anorexia and bulimia? There are damaging consequences of chronic vomiting that affect your oral health. While smiling, teeth may not look damaged from the front. Prosthodontists, however, see a different story behind the lips when performing an up close dental exam.
According to the Institute of Dental Research, 28% of bulimia cases are first diagnosed during a dental exam. Millions of Americans are affected by the disorder on a yearly basis. The statistics are staggering: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that nearly 20 million women suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life.
The teeth are like any other organ in our body, they can become severely damaged from bad habits. Loss of tooth structure (enamel) is one of the classic signs of bulimia seen in an oral exam. Typically, the inside surfaces of the teeth wear down the fastest. The teeth can appear yellow, thin, chipped, or grey-blue. There are other signs a dentist can see: gum inflammation or trauma, xerostomia (dry mouth), and salivary gland dysfunction.
What is the cause behind all of the dental damage?
The constant vomiting causes dental damage due to the stomach acid eating away at the tooth enamel. In fact, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body--- stronger than bone. The same acid in our stomach that breaks down food can also wear away the fragile epithelial lining of our gums. Repeated vomiting causes the stomach acid to start eroding the esophagus lining. Patients are also at higher risk, long term, for esophageal cancer.
As a specialist in reconstructive, esthetic, and implant dentistry, Dr. Ace treats patients with multiple dental problems. Call Dr. Ace at 512-716-1200 for a consultation and learn about your oral health.