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Posts Tagged ‘oral health and eating disorders’

What to Know About Oral Cancer, Eating Disorders & Decalcification

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

eating disorders and oral health

More than 10 million Americans are affected by serious eating disorders. These disorders can have serious ramifications for your overall health, as well as your oral health!2

A Serious Subject: Eating Disorders & Your Health

Two of the most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by repeated, excessive eating, followed by self-induced vomiting, also known as purging. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an extreme fear of gaining weight, a desire to be thin, self-induced starvation, and the inability to maintain a normal weight.

Both conditions deprive the body of crucial vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients required to maintain good health, including oral health. These deficiencies can lead to decalcification of the teeth.3

Decalcification is an early form of tooth decay and damage that can lead to further injuries or breakdown of teeth, more serious tooth decay, and cavities.

Eating disorders can also cause bad breath, tenderness of the mouth and throat, as well as swelling in the salivary glands. These disorders can lead to dry mouth, cracked lips, sores in the mouth, bleeding gums, and sensitivity of the teeth.1,2

The self-induced vomiting that occurs with bulimia nervosa causes powerful digestive acids from the stomach (that normally aren’t found in the mouth) to come in contact with the teeth. This acid attacks and wears away at the tooth enamel, causing erosion. This frequent purging can also change the color, shape, or even length of the teeth!1

Those with anorexia nervosa can experience osteoporosis and severe malnutrition, leading to weakening of the bones. This includes weakening of the jaw bone as well as weakening of the teeth and enamel, or even tooth breakage or loss.1

Long-Term Negative Health Effects

Long term malnutrition from eating disorders can lead to increased susceptibility to infections and other negative health effects.

The repeated vomiting of bulimia can damage the lining of the esophagus because of the repeated contact with the strong stomach acid and the micro-traumas of the tissue associated with the purging. A very small percentage of bulimics can develop bulimia-related cancer due to the damage to the esophagus.4

What to Know About Oral Cancer

Concerned about oral cancer? Early warning signs include lumps or growths in the mouth, throat or neck, patchy areas or lesions in the tissues of the mouth, hoarseness or difficulty swallowing, unusual bleeding, or persistent sores that don’t heal. Recall that when you come in for your regular visit, we look for signs of cancer—after all, we’re trained to do so.

Prevention and regular dental checkups are key when it comes to proper oral health as well as preventing oral cancer! Additionally, a healthy, nourishing diet is important to give your mouth and teeth the building blocks it needs to stay healthy.

prevention at hagen dds practice in cincinnati

Set Up Your Next Dental Visit at Hagen Dental Practice

If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, it is important that you seek professional help as soon as possible. Overcoming the eating disorder is the first step to healing the effects of the acid and nutrient deficiencies that come along with these conditions.

We can help you restore and work with some of the problems created from eating disorders (and that’s part of why we want to know about your health history, too.) Have any questions you want to know the answer to? We’d love to answer any of the questions you have! Schedule your next visit with Hagen Dental by calling us at (513) 251-5500.

References/Sources:

  1. http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/eating-disorder/
  2. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/Teens/concerns
  3. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/decalcification
  4. http://www.bulimiahelp.org/articles/bulimia-and-cancer-what-you-need-know
  5. http://www.atooth.com/oral-cancer/