Eating disorders can affect a person’s oral health. Throwing up frequently can affect the tooth’s enamel and cause the teeth to change in color, shape and length. The edges of your teeth can become thin and break off easily. Without proper nutrition, your gums and other soft tissues inside your mouth may bleed easily. You may find that your teeth become sensitive to hot or cold food and drink. Tooth decay, gum infection and tooth loss may occur. Sometimes individuals will induce vomiting by
sticking their fingers or a foreign object down their throat and cause scratching and redness to the upper part of the inside of your mouth( called the soft palate). Salivary glands can become enlarged and create a “chipmunk” appearance.
If you vomit:
- Use a mouth guard to protect hard tissue
- After throwing up, do NOT brush immediately: wait at least one hour or more
- Rinse immediately with baking soda ( or at least water ) to neutralize the stomach acids. 8 oz of water/ 1 tsp. baking soda
- Cleanse the tongue to remove trapped acid from the papilla on the tongue
- Limit brushing to an ultrasoft MANUAL toothbrush
- Use a 0.05 % Flouride rinse
- Use a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth
In between purging episodes:
- Use a straw when drinking acidic drinks to keep liquids away from your teeth
- Eat healthy– – cheese and dairy products are important sources of calcium for your teeth and bones
- Use antacids to cut down on stomach acids
- Make sure you floss daily to prevent the build up of food and bacteria
If you are experiencing dry mouth:
- Drink lots of water instead of highly acidic fruit juices or sugary sodas
- Use a sugarless gum as a buffer
- Use mints/ xylitol
- Use products made for dry mouth like BIOTENE or salvia substitutes or stimulants.
See your dentist regularly!
Share your concerns so your dentist can implement a treatment plan for you.
If you are planning extensive restorative dental procedures, make sure your eating disorder is well controlled.