Bulimia is an eating disorder in which a person engages in binge-eating, followed by an unhealthy attempt to eliminate the calories consumed. Most people are familiar with the type of purging bulimia in which a person intentionally vomits after binging. The stomach acids that come up with the vomit erode the tooth enamel, resulting in severe damage. However, there are other types of bulimia, and many result in damage to the teeth.
How Binging Damages Teeth
Bulimia is characterized in part by binge-eating. When bulimics binge-eat, they may consume fatty and sugary foods. These sugary foods feed bacteria in the mouth, which produce acid that damages teeth. Increases in bacteria also put the teeth at risk from gum disease. Prolonged binges that consist of numerous snacks over the course of days without adequate oral hygiene put teeth at risk.
Teeth Damage in Nonpurging Bulimia
People who have nonpurging bulimia may use alternate strategies to attempt to eliminate their excess calories consumed. One is the use of fad diets that can be damaging to general health and especially oral health. One particularly damaging type of diet is the lemonade cleanse in which a person eats essentially nothing but lemonade for two weeks or more. Lemon juice is highly acidic, and the frequent consumption of it without anything to help buffer the acid can lead to extensive erosion.
Other times, bulimics will attempt to eliminate calories by engaging in an excessive amount of exercise. Exercise can also damage teeth as it can lead to dehydration and acidification of the saliva. When you are dehydrated, your body may produce less saliva, which means it’s unable to protect you from oral bacteria. When your saliva becomes acidic, it can potentially lead to erosion of your teeth.
Don’t Wait to Get Help
Teeth damage from bulimia is progressive. The longer you wait, the worse the damage will get. If you are suffering from bulimia, it’s important to talk to someone you trust about getting help today.
If you are trying to control bulimia, we can help minimize ongoing damage, and, finally, help you repair teeth damage from bulimia. Please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with an Irvine cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry today.