Caring for your teeth when living with Bulimia is a very important issue. Your oral health can be severely compromised whilst living with an eating disorder, and being able to reach out for help to preserve your teeth and gums can do wonders for both your mental and physical wellbeing.
Many common problems can abound due to the effects of Bulimia, as well as other eating disorders, and knowing about them before they occur can help you to stay calm, and go on to take better care of your mouth in general.
What Can Bulimia Do to Your Teeth?
For someone living with Bulimia Nervosa, teeth are often at the top of their health concerns. Vomiting on a regular basis leaves your teeth and gums in the firing line, and damage can build up very quickly.
The amount of acid in vomit can very quickly erode the surface enamel of someone’s teeth, thanks to the pH balance of gastric acid that naturally resides in your stomach. Because of this, without enamel to protect the rest of the tooth, the underlying dentine and pulp can become exposed.
Someone living with Bulimia may suffer from tooth pain and/or sensitivity on a regular basis. Eating or drinking hot and cold foods, as well as sugary foods, may spark this pain more often than other substances. In the latter case, continuing to binge on sugary foods can lead to further tooth decay, due to an increased amount of plaque bacteria.
Most of all, the wearing away of enamel caused by regular vomiting can cause teeth to yellow in appearance and become smooth. This can be the most noticeable change for someone living with Bulimia. And it’s not just your teeth that are affected. Bulimia can also lead to swelling of a person’s saliva glands, due to the effects of vomiting frequently.
Preserving Your Oral Health
Preserving your oral health is a big concern for someone with an eating disorder, especially if they’re combating Bulimia Nervosa. Simply brushing your teeth twice a day goes a long way to ensuring your teeth are still in good condition. Be sure to use a strong fluoride toothpaste day and night.
It’s also advisable to brush after an episode of vomiting, usually an hour or so after the vomiting has finished. This allows any residual acid to settle in your mouth, making the environment much safer to clean. If you brush immediately after vomiting, you’re more likely to rub the acid into your teeth – if the dentine or pulp is exposed, this can lead to further decay, as well as sensitivity and pain.
If your teeth have yellowed in appearance, or you’ve noticed they’re a lot smoother or look ‘glossy’, it’s a good idea to talk to a cosmetic dentist. Always talk to your dentist about your oral health issues if you’re vomiting on a regular basis, as they’ll be able to advise on tooth brush types and sizes, as well as the right toothpaste for your condition.
When you experience any of the above issues, or a less common problem, Rose Dental Nashua will find a way to restore your smile in style.