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Eating disorders and dental health

Dr. Lorenzana - Thursday, January 05, 2017



Eating disorders are mental disorders defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s physical or mental health.

In cases of anorexia, the individual’s semi-inanition state deprives the body of the nutrients it needs. It may cause osteoporosis which weaken maxillary bone causing tooth loss.

In case of bulimia, the individual usually resorts to vomit provocation regularly; stomach acids that are present in vomit that comes through the mouth can erode tooth enamel causing tooth decay, discoloration and tooth loss.

In dentistry eating disorders are very relevant, not because its manifestations are serious or life-threatening, but because are the only ones that can’t be reverted; so that is necessary detect in an early stage and treat as soon as possible.

It is necessary to warn that dental treatment will not be easy and the clinician must consider as a major challenge recovery and maintenance of the patient, mainly because these patients many have little or no interest in their own general and dental health due to disorder psychological origins.

Among the main dental manifestations on anorexic and bulimic patients are:


  • Decalcification
  • Enamel erosion
  • Extensive tooth decay
  • Dental sensibility
  • Buccal mucosa and periodontal tissues alterations
  • Dry mouth and infections in salivary glands
  • Loss of integrity of the arches (alteration of the bite)
  • Decreased ability to chew
  • Queilosis (damage on the lips)
  • Restorations that protrude above eroded teeth (pseudo-overfeeding).
  • Bad breath odor caused by constant vomits
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