Most people, on average, think about their weight, size, or body image at some point in their lives. For those with bulimia, body image is more important than gaining the proper nutrients from food and liquids needed to function. There are many effects on the body from bulimia, but those seen in the mouth tend to be the most disturbing. Women suffering from the eating disorder bulimia may experience damaging and irreversible effects to their mouth if they do not seek treatment urgently.
Why Does Bulimia Damage the Mouth?
Bulimia is an eating disorder that has characteristics that consist of both bingeing and purging. Bingeing means that an individual eats as much food as possible in one sitting, and not much during other times of the day. After the binge, women who have bulimia will induce vomiting to rid their bodies of the food they just ate. This excessive and frequent vomiting is what causes the damage seen in the mouth and teeth. Vomit contains stomach acid that is meant for breaking down food in the stomach. This stomach acid is toxic and breaks down even tooth enamel.
Tooth Damage Caused by Purging
Tooth enamel is the outer coating of the teeth that provides protection. Once this layer is eliminated, it never grows back. Stomach acid from vomit breaks down this hard tooth enamel. Without the protection from the enable coating, teeth are weak and susceptible. Continued purging, will result in a hole in the tooth. This hole, or cavity, if untreated, will result in a lost tooth. Additionally, purging causes teeth to turn a yellow color as well as leave teeth feeling fragile and brittle.
Mouth Damage Caused by Purging
The stomach acid in vomit causes mouth damage along with tooth damage and decay. The mouth produces spit by way of salivary glands located in the cheeks of the mouth. Saliva helps to protect the teeth from damage and decay. For those with bulimia, salivary glands may swell because of agitation caused by stomach acid. During treatment for bulimia, this side effect is reversible, where tooth damage is not. Similarly, if stomach acid can dissolve something as hard as tooth enamel, it concurrently can dissolve the skin in the mouth. Women with bulimia often experience painful mouth sores that can be reduced during treatment.
Treatment for Eating Disorders to Prevent Mouth Damage
The only way to prevent the mouth damage caused by bulimia is to seek treatment for the eating disorder. This will ensure that stomach acid will not affect the mouth any longer and give the mouth a chance to heal. Unfortunately, the only treatment for dental problems is to seek dental assistance. If you have been experiencing the characteristics of bulimia and have yet to see the side effects of bulimia in your mouth, there is time for you to prevent these damaging effects with treatment. Once your teeth are gone, there’s no getting them back. Treatment options for women suffering from bulimia are available through The Willow Place for Women. Call us today to learn more about our services at 561-512-1605.