Bulimia nervosa is a disease where a patient engages in purging behavior after meals. A number of dangerous, some serious, side effects can occur as a result of bulimia nervosa. One that is often overlooked by patients is the damage stomach acids can cause to teeth. Vomiting is when the contents of the stomach are brought up through the throat, the mouth, and then expelled from the body. This exposes teeth to the stomach acids they’re not normally going to come into contact with. The dental problem with those who have bulimia nervosa is the repeated cycles of purging will far more constantly expose their teeth to the acids that do damage.
When the teeth come into contact with the acid, the tooth enamels will start to be worn down. After the enamel, the second layer of dentin in the teeth will be attacked. Under this layer are the nerves in the teeth. Damage to the dentin is very serious and should be treated promptly. Apart from direct damage to the teeth, purging can cause problems with the soft tissues in the mouth due to the acid.
Because of the damage, dentists should be involved in the treatment of a patient with bulimia nervosa. There are steps they can take to help deal with the damage while the patient is struggling with the disease.
Did you know that you should wait up to one hour after vomiting to brush your teeth? #HealthStatus
- 1Use floss, and clean between the teeth and gum line. After a purge, rinse the mouth out with water, or fluoride mouthwash (if prescribed).
- 2If a person is consuming sugary drinks or foods, again wash the mouth out with water or fluoride mouthwash.
- 3Reversing the damage from binging and purging can be done, based on the duration and severity of the eating disorder.
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