An eating disorder is an extremely private health condition that is often shrouded in secrecy. Many sufferers are hesitant to admit that they are battling the condition and therefore fail to seek professional help. Augusta dentists are urging anyone who is battling an eating disorder to take extra steps to protect their oral health.
Eating disorders such as bulimia are characterized by frequent vomiting. Unfortunately, the stomach acid that enters the mouth during vomiting is so harsh that it can erode the enamel off of the teeth—even if you brush your teeth afterward. Within as few as six months of frequent vomiting, the teeth can begin to show signs of significant damage. The tooth erosion that is caused by stomach acid can be so severe that costly and extensive tooth reconstruction may be necessary.
Minimize the Damage Caused by an Eating Disorder
As you work to overcome an eating disorder, you can take some steps to minimize and limit the damage to your teeth and gums. Keep these tips in mind after you have experienced an episode of vomiting:
- Rinse your mouth with water, but do not brush right away. The outer surface of your enamel is soft after an exposure to stomach acids. Brushing while the enamel is softened can actually cause more erosion.
- Rinse with a mild mixture of water and baking soda after vomiting to neutralize acids in the mouth.
- Floss and brush thoroughly each day to reduce the levels of plaque bacteria.
- Look for a fluoride mouth rinse or ask the dentist for a prescription-strength fluoride product for extra protection.
Talk to Your Dentist
The dentist’s main concern is your health and safety. Your oral health is directly related to your overall health, so the dentist will always provide as much help as possible. Augusta dentists are better able to assist you when they understand the full scope of your oral health conditions. To speak with a dental professional today about the effects of your eating disorder, call for an appointment today.