An eating disorder is categorized as a psychological condition that is caused by unhealthy eating habits, or flawed attitudes towards body image and food consumption. When we talk about eating disorders, we are tackling two opposite extremes. On one hand of the spectrum, there’s conscious or no eating at all and the other extreme deals with obsessive eating with no apparent limits regarding quantity or mindful eating.
However, it is extremely important to understand that this is a complex mental health issue that has physical consequences. Let’s now talk about the three main types of eating disorders.
In this type, the individual does not eat due to extreme body image issues related to the fear of gaining weight while in constant pursuit of thinness. It can include avoiding food, micro managing calories, excessive exercise, frequent weighing and even social withdrawal.
This type of eating disorder oscillates between eating, purging and non-eating. Bulimia Nervosa can be an episodic eating disorder categorized by binge eating and losing self-control until the person feels awfully full. In order to compensate for overeating, the following episode includes self-induced vomiting, prolonged fasting periods, laxatives and excessive exercise.
Binge eating means having large quantities of food after every few hours. Unlike bulimia, people with this disorder do not engage in any compensatory, weight managing behaviors.
Connection Between Eating Disorders and Oral Health
Losing control on having or not having food is primarily a mental concern that needs to be tackled accordingly. However, this psychological disorder has various health implications. One of them is its effect on oral health.
Eating habits and behaviors can have serious consequences on oral health. Listed below are some of the concerns:
- Engaging in binge eating can cause increased susceptibility to tooth decay and cavities.
- Purging behaviors like vomiting can cause tooth enamel erosion.
- Anorexia can lead to dry mouth, and lack of saliva.
- Nutritional deficiencies can be a leading cause to developing gum problems i.e. gingivitis, periodontitis, canker sores, ulcers.
- Excessive hot and cold food intake can increase tooth sensitivity.
- Swollen or inflamed salivary glands due to frequent vomiting.
- Poor nutrition and food intake can cause the teeth to be fragile and prone to cracking or breaking.
- Teeth discoloration and staining caused by vomiting and excessive food intake.
Unhealthy eating patterns can include highly restricted eating, purging or obsessive eating. While it is highly important to address underlying conditions causing this issue, it is equally important to seek dental help as part of comprehensive care.
Eating disorders can have oral implications like tooth sensitivity, bad breath, gum infections, decay and much more. Neglecting oral health can exacerbate dental issues associated with eating disorders.
If you suspect issues related to dental health, dentists at Pearland Family Dentistry are on duty to serve you at our best capacity from thorough diagnosis till treatment and recovery. Contact us now at (832) 649-7344.