Studies show that 10 million Americans currently suffer from serious eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Many people endure these problems alone for fear of ridicule and shame, but your dentist in Melbourne says these disorders affect the whole body, including your mouth. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to educate yourself on these conditions. Learn more about them and the means of prevention.
Types of Eating Disorders
Here are the three main eating disorders and the problems they can cause:
- Anorexia – This involves an acute phobia of gaining weight or becoming overweight. Anorexia causes a psychological condition where people can be dangerously thin, yet view themselves as overweight. Therefore, they will go to extreme measures to counteract the image projected. This mindset may unfold through starvation and excessive exercising. They may even go as far as inducing vomiting to achieve the standard they’ve set for themselves. A few problems arise from this like deprivation of vital nutrients that the body and teeth need to remain healthy. Also, induced vomiting can bathe the mouth, teeth and gums in harmful stomach acids that destroy enamel.
- Bulimia – Like anorexia, bulimia centers on an extreme fear of being overweight. The difference is that it involves certain periods of binge eating, where people feel completely out of control. In this state of mind, they’re not going to be concerned with the quality of food that they consume, which is to the detriment of their oral health. Also, constant eating creates a breeding ground for bacteria to grow. Furthermore, after coming to grips with the foods they’ve consumed, they will then force themselves to vomit, further exacerbating the damage to their teeth with stomach acids.
- Binge Eating – This problem affects men and women equally, and involves extreme overeating. The difference between the binge eater and the bulimic is that the former will not try to rid his or herself of the food. Instead, when coming to grips with his or her actions, he or she may just eat more. This causes two main problems. The foods consumed will more than likely be unhealthy and can lead to a host of dental maladies, like cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. Furthermore, the constant consumption never gives the mouth to clear away old bacteria, thus creating a safe-haven more of them to flourish.
The number one tool of prevention is identification of deep-seeded traumas that lead to eating disorders. A psychologist can help with this mighty task because although the problem is reflected physically, the source is probably some sort of mental barrier that a trained professional can help the patient navigate. The help can commence once the person realizes and accepts the he or she has a problem.
If you are suffering from any of these conditions, it’s even more important that you maintain careful oral hygiene. Make sure to brush your teeth and floss at least twice a day. In the case of vomiting, do not brush your teeth immediately. Instead, rinse with baking soda to help neutralize the effects of the stomach acids.
Finally, schedule regular visits with your Melbourne dentist for cleanings and examinations, and keep her in the loop about your condition so that she can offer non-judgmental solutions to protect your teeth as best as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Beverly Rose graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in biology. She then went on to earn her Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. She practices at Exceptional Dentistry and can be reached for more information through her website.