Battling Bulimia? This Is What It Can Do To Your Teeth

Bulimia is a serious condition where you alternate between gorging on food and then vomiting it back up. It can destroy your health because of the lack of nutrition your body receives. Bulimia is also very hard on your teeth. As part of your recovery from bulimia, you'll need to work closely with your dentist to repair damage to your gums and teeth in order to restore your oral health. Here's what you need to know about bulimia and dental health.

How Bulimia Affects Your Teeth

Vomit is acidic, so when you vomit frequently, your teeth are exposed to a lot more acid than they would be otherwise. This wears away tooth enamel, which leads to the development of cavities and discoloration. Gum disease is common too, so your teeth may even become loose, and you may experience bleeding from your teeth and gums. In addition to pain from toothaches, you'll probably have sensitive teeth because the enamel is worn away.

Another way bulimia affects your teeth relates to your daily diet. It's likely you gorge on sugary foods like cake, cookies, and junk food. While too much sugar is bad for your teeth, lack of proper nutrition is also bad. If you vomit frequently, your body may not be absorbing the nutrients needed to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.

To mask the odor and taste of vomit, you may brush your teeth vigorously, use harsh toothpastes and mouthwash, or chew on gum and candy all the time. This aggressive oral care can cause more harm than good when your teeth are already weakened.

How Your Dentist Can Help

Your dentist can restore your teeth to a healthy state, but you should be on the road to recovery from your illness if you want the results of your dental work to last. If you have extensive discoloration, your dentist may apply veneers to protect the enamel and whiten your teeth. You may need fillings or crowns to address tooth decay. If your teeth are in bad shape, the dentist may need to extract them and put in implants or dentures. You may need treatment for gum disease too. The sooner you seek dental help, the better. It is easier to reverse gum disease and repair decay when it is in the early stages.

While dental work won't cure your bulimia, it can go a long way towards helping build self-esteem if your teeth are badly damaged. While it's important to stop gorging and purging for the health of your teeth, it's just as important to the rest of your body as well. You can look in your mouth and see how bulimia is affecting your teeth, but it may be easy to ignore its effects on the rest of your body since you can't see it. However, every organ system in your body is under stress when you have bulimia, and although the road to recovery may be hard, it is definitely worth it to try.

For more information, contact a practice like Health Centered Dentistry.