BULIMIA NERVOSA AND YOUR TEETH
Bulimia nervosa impacts not only general health but also oral health. Repeated vomiting can affect the tissues in your mouth, and you might notice your tongue is becoming dry and sore. Other signs include having swollen salivary glands and a lack of sufficient saliva.
In addition induced vomiting exposes the teeth to strong acid from the stomach, and as a result the tooth enamel is likely to become eroded. This is something that can create changes in the way your teeth bite together, and there’s even the risk that some teeth will be lost completely. The effects aren’t always immediately obvious, and some bulimics may not experience this. However bulimics are more likely to be malnourished and the lack of vital nutrients can make it more difficult for your gums and other oral tissues to heal, increasing the risk of gum disease.
GETTING DENTAL TREATMENT FOR THE EFFECTS OF BULIMIA NERVOSA
If you are currently in the grips of bulimia nervosa or you know someone who is, the talk to your dentist about this problem. Your dentist at Midtown Dentistry can work with you and your health care team to help minimize the damage to your teeth and gums while you conquer this condition.
We might recommend additional fluoride treatments during dental visits, or the use of a special fluoride gel to use at home. Regular dental visits will enable us to pick up any early signs of infections or decay so they can be treated before they progress, or alternatively we might be able to provide you with something to help protect your teeth against the stomach acids.
CARING FOR YOU TEETH AT HOME
You can help care for your teeth at home through taking action to minimize the effects of stomach acid when vomiting. Afterwards rinse your mouth with a weak solution of baking soda and water as this will help neutralize stomach acids. It can also be useful to use a fluoride mouth rinse to help strengthen your tooth enamel, and your dentist might prescribe a slightly stronger mouthwash than is available over-the-counter.
- Do not brush your teeth immediately after vomiting as your tooth enamel will still be slightly soft after being exposed to the stomach acids.
- Rinse your mouth with a water and baking soda rinse to counter the acid.
- Waiting half an hour or so before brushing will allow it time to re-harden, decreasing the damage to your tooth enamel. When you do brush, make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride to help strengthen your teeth.
If you suffer from a lack of saliva, a condition called dry mouth, then make sure you drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated. It’s also possible to buy over-the-counter saliva substitutes, or to ask your dentist for a prescription.
RESTORING TEETH DAMAGED BY BULIMIA NERVOSA
Once you have beaten this condition we can concentrate on restoring your teeth. This might mean that some teeth require repairing with white filling material, although any that are particularly badly damaged might need restoring with crowns or even replacing entirely with bridges or dental implants.
Ask your dentist at Midtown Dentistry about bulimia and other medical problems.