Can Eating Disorders Harm Your Oral Health?

Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia nervosa can be extremely harmful to your overall health and wellbeing, and this includes your mouth and teeth. The way you eat plays a significant role in the health of your mouth, so it is not surprising that it is often the teeth and gums that show the first physical designs of eating disorders.

Unfortunately, eating disorders can cause long-lasting and even permanent damage to the teeth and gums, which is why early detection and treatment by, not only doctors, but also a cosmetic dentist, is vital.

One of the best ways to ensure you get the appropriate treatment for your mouth fast is to know exactly what sort of damage eating disorders can do to your teeth and gums so read on to find out exactly how an eating disorder may affect your mouth.

Eating Disorders’ Effects On Your Mouth

Bleeding gums

If you aren’t taking in the proper level of nutrition, the soft tissue in your mouth, including your gums, could start to bleed or you could experience persistent dry mouth. This happens because your saliva glands start to swell, which means you don’t have enough saliva in the mouth to maintain a healthy environment.

Gum disease and tooth decay 

If you are restricting the amount of food you take in, chances are you will not be getting enough calcium. A lack of calcium is a huge deal when it comes to mouth health and can lead to both tooth decay and gum disease, which may require extensive treatment by a good cosmetic to put right.


If you aren’t taking in enough iron due to a restricted diet, you could also end up with painful sores on the soft tissue of your mouth. Canker sores are also common in the mouths of anyone who does not get enough vitamin B3 in their diet.


Lack of B vitamins is also known to cause the gums to be swollen, red, and painful — gingivitis in other words. You may also be more likely to experience bad breath as a result of taking in too few B vitamins.

Enamel erosion

If you suffer from bulimia nervosa — an eating disorder characterized by a binge-purge cycle, you may experience enamel erosion due to the constant exposure of the teeth to acid in your vomit. This can cause your teeth to become weak, discolored, weak, and translucent. It may also even change the shape of your teeth, and you may require cosmetic dentist work to put things right. In extreme cases, your teeth may even die after prolonged exposure to acid. 

Degenerative arthritis

It is rarer, but some sufferers of eating disorders will experience degenerative arthritis in the temporomandibular joint of their jaws. This can cause pain in the jaw area, especially when eating or talking, and ongoing headaches that can be difficult to deal with.

If you’re suffering from the mouth effects of an eating disorder, Rose Dental can help you get back on track. Call us on (603) 882- 7201 to speak to a professional dentist today.

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