Eating Disorders & Their Effect on Oral Health

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 24 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. Eating disorders are among the most dangerous mental illnesses because they affect both your mind and your body, causing deadly damage to organs and bones. 

Eating disorders also have a negative impact on oral health. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating can all cause permanent damage if not treated in time. Read on to learn how eating disorders can damage oral health. 

Weakened Gums

Restricting food can cause nutritional deficiencies that affect your gums. A lack of calcium, for example, can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Niacin and vitamin B3 deficiencies can cause canker sores on the gums as well as bad breath

If you lack proper nutrition, your gums bleed more easily and your salivary glands swell, causing chronic dry mouth. 

Enamel Erosion

Someone suffering from bulimia vomits frequently, causing stomach acids to coat their teeth. The acids erode the enamel and change the color, shape, and length of the teeth. 

Over time, a tooth with eroded enamel can become:

As more enamel erodes, pieces of teeth may chip off until the severity of the erosion exposes the pulp. The risk of infection increases, putting the pulp in danger.

Get the Help You Need

By turning to experts, you can get an assessment of your oral health as you manage an eating disorder. The professionals at Piper Family Dentistry will work with you to find the right treatment plan for your needs. Call us at (727) 548-7100 for more information. 


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