05 June, 2016

Dr Vishnu Sivakumar

What is anorexia?

  • An anorexic is someone who has a compulsive need to lose weight, just by refusing food. People who suffer from anorexia have a different view of how their bodies look, as opposed to how others may view them.  They will almost send their body into a state of starvation rather than gaining extra weight through eating, which is not healthy for the body and denies it the nutrients it needs. Anorexia sufferers can develop osteoporosis, which can weaken the bones in their jaws that support the teeth.  This can potentially lead to tooth loss.
  • Another eating disorder is Bulimia, whereby a person “binge eats” large volumes of food and then purges their system of everything they have eaten.  It is a vicious cycle, which can involve them using laxatives several times a week or even undertaking extreme exercise sessions and fasting to produce the same results. When a bulimic vomits excessively to rid their stomachs of food, the acid which passes through the mouth can cause tooth erosion, tooth discolouration, sensitive teeth and also erodes tooth enamel.


How Bulimia Affects Your Teeth

  • There are some noticeable changes which are obvious for those with bulimia. Consistent vomiting can cause swelling of the salivary glands, and the tongue and tissue inside your mouth can become parched, sore and inflamed. One of the significant symptoms evident in bulimics is a long-lasting sore throat and soft palate haemorrhaging. Tooth enamel, on the inside of the upper front teeth, can become eroded, which increases the risk of decay. It can also make teeth sensitive to extreme hot and cold temperatures. 
  • In more severe tooth erosion, it can also lead to bite changes, or distortion in the way both sets of teeth come together.  It can also end in tooth loss and reduction in the size of some teeth. Relatively speaking, it will take approximately three years for tooth erosion to become apparent, and it is not always a case where every bulimic has the same experience. Many bulimics can be under-nourished which could lead to suffering anaemia, slow healing and a higher risk of gum disease.
  • While undergoing an eating disorder treatment, it may take some time to get the incidents of vomiting under control. So to minimise tooth damage, which occurs from stomach acid passing through the mouth while vomiting, you should use baking soda and a water mix to rinse your mouth thoroughly.  Also, rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash (.05%) prescribed by one of our dentists will help to minimise damage. Teeth should never be brushed immediately after vomiting because this too can cause the acid from the stomach to erode the enamel. Always use a fluoride toothpaste when cleaning your teeth to strengthen your teeth.
  • By drinking water to keep your mouth moist, this will help with symptoms of dry mouth. Your dentist can also prescribe you with saliva replacements, daily fluoride treatments, extra-strong prescription mouthwashes, gels, and pastes. 


Your Dental Visits

  • If you are suffering from bulimia, our professional dentists at Brisbane, Springfield or Toowoomba may prescribe fluoride treatments which you can use at home, such as, a gel rinse. It is important for you to pay regular visits to your dentist for check-ups so that any infections or decay can be detected early. With regular visits, it will ensure that your mouth stays healthy.
  • Treatments for your teeth can also play a significant role in your bulimia treatment. At Southside Family Dental, your dentist will be able to work in conjunction with your healthcare team and coordinate a treatment plan which works alongside your disorder. If you are continuing to receive treatment for your bulimia, it is possible that your dentist can offer you a tooth-covering appliance which will protect your teeth from any stomach acid.
  • Once your treatment is working, and you have your bulimia under control, you may decide that you want to restore some of your teeth that are perhaps damaged. If caught early enough, the loss of enamel can be replaced with materials like amalgam or composite resin. Tooth extraction may be necessary for more severe erosion cases, but these too can be replaced with the use of implants or bridges.
  • Statistics have shown that there are some conditions which can be evident in some bulimic sufferers. These can be depression, anxiety, and drug or alcohol dependency. As well as having a severe impact on your dental health, it can also affect medication which has been prescribed for you as part of a dental treatment plan. It is important to let us know about any medications you are taking and the prescribed doses.