Periodontists and The Hidden Signs of Eating Disorders

November 29, 2023

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have profound effects on the mental and physical health of an estimated one in every 10 people across the U.S. The signs of these conditions may often be hidden, but a periodontist is trained to spot them among patients of all ages and genders. Our specialist at Rockville Centre for Dentistry can play a crucial role in identifying manifestations of these disorders that affect the oral health of our patients.

Here are some of the ways these conditions can negatively affect oral health:

  • Severe food restrictions that are linked to anorexia can cause dry mouth, salivary gland deterioration, and tooth enamel damage, according to the National Library of Medicine.
  • The cycles of binge eating and purging linked to bulimia can lead to swelling of the salivary glands, sore throat and erosion of the back and upper teeth because of self-induced vomiting,
  • The gums can be weakened and become prone to periodontal disease due to poor nutrition linked to restrictive eating behaviors. 
  • Tooth enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity and dry mouth can result from purging behaviors including self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse that expose the mouth to harsh stomach acids.

In the course of our comprehensive examination, we are trained to be aware of the signs of any threats to our patients’ oral health. When we identify any of the symptoms listed above, we can play a key role in helping our patients to recognize the grave threats these conditions pose. Besides providing ongoing care for their symptoms, we educate our patients about these disorders, encourage them to seek help, and potentially work with mental health professionals to provide a comprehensive approach to their health. 

Eating disorders are complicated and their signs are often concealed. If you or someone in your family is suffering from one of these illnesses, our periodontist at Rockville Centre for Dentistry can help. Please contact us or reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


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