Eating Disorders and your Oral Health
Originally conceptualized as a discrete illness, eating disorders are syndromes characterized by significant disturbances in a person’s eating behaviour. The two main distinguishable behaviors are Anorexia nervosa (under eating) and Bulimia nervosa (Over-eating). There can also be crossover behaviours between extremes of over or under eating accompanied by an intense focus on distress related to societal norms on food consumption, body shape or weight.
⇒ Anorexia nervosa:
Also known as Anorexia, this eating disorder is characterized by the inappropriate eating habits and reduced food intake, which is sometimes accompanied by an obsession of having a thin physique and a paranoiaof weight gain. It often stems from a distorted body image, which may result from emotional trauma, depression or anxiety. People with anorexia may view extreme dieting or weight loss as a way to regain control over their lives.
Bulimia nervosa is the eating disorder in which a person eats a lot and may develop an unhealthy relationship with food over time. A word of such type of behaviour is binge eating, in which a person eats large quantities of food in a short amount of time and panics about the calories they have consumed resulting in shame and guilt. The Bulimic however immediately after eating forcefully purges the food from their body due to this guilt and thus might force oneself to vomit or take laxative, diuretic, or stimulant.
How Anorexia and Bulimia can affect our Oral Health
Dietary habits play a major role in oral health as harmful habits and nutritional deficiencies, which are often accompanied by disorder eating can have noticeable effects on oral health. Food restrictions often lead to nutritional deficiency damaging your teeth, as well as your body. An Anorexic behaviour may introduce insufficiency of calcium, iron, minerals as well as vitamins needed for a good oral health. The restricted intake of calcium or vitamin D can weaken the teeth whereas insufficiency of iron can foster the development of sores inside the mouth along with bad breath.
The frequent vomiting in the case of a person suffering from Bulimia nervosa leads to strong stomach acid repeatedly flowing over the teeth, making your enamel weak and changing the colour of your teeth. The acid from the stomach can also make the teeth brittle, translucent and weak along with tissue loss and erosive lesions.