Can anorexia affect your teeth?


Last Updated on: 26th December 2023, 10:22 pm

Can anorexia affect your teeth?

Eating disorders are common in the population, especially in young people and adolescents. Among them, the most common are anorexia and bulimia. These disorders bring with them certain behaviors. Where the disorder goes beyond a psychological condition, it also affects the afflicted in a comprehensive and systemic way; it is not unrelated to the oral cavity and teeth


What is Anorexia?

Anorexia is a disease consisting of the distortion of the perception of one’s body image. Anorexics believe they have gained a lot of weight and look fatter or more obese than they really are. It is a misperception that stimulates the uncontrolled desire to lose weight and look thinner. Anorexia will produce excessive weight loss in the people who suffer from it.  They tend to reduce their food intake or eat and expel it through induced vomiting.

anorexia affect your teeth

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this disease appears in adolescence and affects a higher percentage of women.


How does Anorexia affect the teeth?

Although anorexia and bulimia are considered mental illnesses, they can cause damage to the teeth and affect oral health. Among the common conditions that ensue, we find:

  • Poor oral hygiene: Many times, people suffering from anorexia and bulimia have little or no interest in their oral hygiene since much of their time is focused on taking measures to lose weight. Thereby, they consistently neglect their oral hygiene.
  • Dental Erosions: The International Dental Federation (FDI) tells us that dental erosions are characterized by the loss of the surface of dental hard tissue. Dental erosions are the result of the exposure of the teeth to acids from food and beverages, and in the case of anorexia or bulimia, acids from induced vomiting. These erosions affect all dental areas. The palatal sides of the teeth will be especially affected because the individual will lose part of their structure, giving the appearance of excessive tooth wear, making them more fragile to fractures and vulnerable to t dental caries.
  • Gum disease: Poor oral hygiene will first affect the gums, producing inflammation due to the accumulation of bacterial plaque. The most severe form will produce bone loss and tooth mobility, and can lead to tooth loss.
  • Decalcification: An excessive decrease of nutritional food implies a deficiency of vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, which will produce a decalcification of the hard tissues of the body. Among them are the maxillary bones, where osteoporosis can occur, consequently leading to the loss of teeth.
  • Caries: Inadequate oral hygiene is also reflected in more dental caries because the lack of or insufficient dental plaque removal by brushing provides greater vulnerability of the teeth to dental caries and to the decalcification of hard tissues, such as enamel.
  • Dental sensitivity: When gum disease occurs, it will produce a gingival retraction (gum retraction), leading to the exposure of part of the root of the tooth, thereby producing dental sensitivity to thermal changes such as cold and hot. As an area with little enamel thickness, it is very vulnerable.


On the other hand, this sensitivity can be due to the demineralization of dental enamel whose function is to protect the structures of the tooth such as dentin and pulp from being decalcified, where the tooth loses its thickness, producing a greater probability of sensitivity


What should we know?

The treatment of anorexia and its concomitant bulimia entails multidisciplinary work, where different specialties are involved. Among them, dental treatment is vitally important to detect any damage caused to the teeth. An effective treatment plan includes dentistry,  to stop or repair dental problems.

Woman at the dentist

Our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Park and Port Hueneme are professionals capable of detecting patients who present bulimia or anorexia during a routine examination through the signs they present in the teeth and oral cavity.


Contact Us: Anorexia affect your teeth

If you have any questions about this topic or any other, please feel free to contact or visit us at Channel Islands Family Dental.

At Channel Islands Family Dental, we are attentive to each patient to make a timely diagnosis.  In addition, our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Park, or Port Hueneme will be able to guide you in the best treatment to create your best smile.


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