Is Your Dental Health Suffering?

How Does Bulimia Affect Your Dental Health?

Bulimia can negatively affect the body in a number of different ways. One way this eating disorder affects the body is through one’s dental health. All areas of the mouth are crucial to the body and it can be devastating how much this disorder damages them. The tongue, throat, teeth, and gums have all been know to experience complications as a result of the chronic vomiting associated with bulimia. Anyone desiring to find recovery from this disorder should seek bulimia help from a certified eating disorder treatment center.

An entire set of teeth can be destroyed by this harmful disorder. The erosion set about in the mouth is caused by hydrochloric acid from the stomach. This acid destroys the protective coating of enamel on a set of teeth, leaving them vulnerable to quick decay. Once this layer of white enamel is gone, a softer layer of dentin is exposed. This layer is vulnerable and disappears quickly. Normal activities such as eating can wear down this layer of dentin. This in turn causes severe dental complications and collapsing of the face.

Erosion patterns in the mouth are very distinct and different than many other sources of decay. Through these patterns, a dentist can approximately tell how long a patient has been suffering from bulimia. Dentists can tell a lot about a patient by their teeth. In fact, about 28% of people with bulimia are diagnosed with this disorder after having an examination with their dentist. Bulimia programs aim to stop bulimia and prevent future relapse of this disorder. These programs are offered at a number of different eating disorder treatment clinics.

Other Problems Which Cause Similar Dental Complications:

  • Harsh, frequent brushing of the teeth
  • Smoking
  • Drinking coffee
  • Sucking on citrus fruits
  • Drugs
  • Grinding of the teeth
  • Hot foods
  • Periodontal disease

Symptoms of Poor Dental Health Caused by Bulimia

  1. Wearing down of tooth enamel – This occurs because of the hydrochloric acid brought up from the stomach when someone vomits.
  2. Dryness in the mouth – Dryness can be caused by a parotid gland dysfunction or by a lesser amount of saliva. This saliva is often decreased through laxative and diuretic use.
  3. Cavities – Increase in the amount of cavities in the mouth often occurs due to binge-eating. When binge eating, a person usually indulges in large amounts of carbohydrates and sugar, foods which often lead to cavities.
  4. Nerves of the teeth are exposed – This takes place when enamel and dentin in the teeth are eroded. Such exposure leads to temperature sensitivity.
  5. Enlargement of the parotid gland – Swelling which takes place in the parotid gland often will happen after a person has had bulimia for a long period of time or due to frequent and extreme purging sessions.
  6. Raised fillings – Fillings can be raised if someone has bulimia, this occurs because of erosion in the teeth.
  7. Lesions on the mouth’s palate – Such small and sometimes red lesions in the mouth are caused by a harsh contact with certain objects. These pieces are placed in the mouth to induce vomiting.

Other problems include:

  • Gum pain and/or bleeding
  • Discolorations in the teeth
  • Changes in bite structure
  • Heartburn
  • Inflamed esophagus
  • Inability to swallow

These symptoms are only a few of the problems brought about by bulimia. If you or a loved one desires bulimia treatment, call an eating disorder residential center today.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.