More than 10 million people in the United States have some type of eating disorder. Though you might already know some of the effects that your condition has on your body, you might not realize the effects it has on your mouth and gums. There is a link between eating disorders and oral health, including the way that your actions impact your smile.
1. Enamel loss
When you binge and purge, you bring up acid from your stomach, which can eat away at the enamel one tooth or your entire smile. Once you lose that protective layer, you risk seeing cracks or chips develop, and you may even lose a tooth.
Your mouth consists of a number of tissues and nerves that run through your gums, and, when you suffer from an eating disorder, you risk damaging your gums. Your gums, just like the rest of your body, need the proper nutrients to thrive.
If you look in the mirror, you might notice that, instead of looking bright red or pink, your mouth looks pale and unhealthy. Others dealing with an eating disorder find that their gums look swollen and that the inflammation puts undue pressure on their smiles.
The bile that rises from your stomach can also cause mouth sores and kill the healthy tissues in your mouth.
3. Bad breath
Another common symptom that your eating disorder can cause is bad breath. The bile and old food that comes from your stomach can become stuck or lodged in your smile, and, even if you brush regularly, you might still find that your breath has an odd or unusual odor. This is because, in a starving body the liver breaks down fats to cause a condition called ketoacidocis.
Those suffering from anorexia and other eating disorders also experience dry mouth, pain and swelling in the salivary glands, swelling in the throat and lips that appear dry or cracked.
With millions of people in the United States alone dealing with eating disorders, it’s important that you know you aren’t alone. Whether you have anorexia, bulimia or another disorder, you don’t have to let the condition rule your life.
The sooner that you talk to someone about your condition and how you feel about yourself, the sooner you can get the help that you deserve. You can contact the Eating Disorders Resource Center to find out how to get help in your area.
If you have any questions about eating disorders and your oral health, please do not hesitate to ask.