The vicious cycle of bingeing on food and then purging when you have bulimia nervosa puts enormous stress on your kidneys, heart, and other vital organs. It is also especially harmful to your oral health.
Frequent vomiting could result in serious damage to your oral health, particularly because vomit is toxic due to the stomach acids it contains. The role of these acids is to break down your stomach contents to make digestion easier. In your mouth, however, the same acids are extremely corrosive and enough to erode the enamel that safeguards and covers the teeth.
Here’s how bulimia can wreak havoc on your oral health.
Acids from constant vomiting could erode so much enamel and leave a cavity or hole in your teeth. When you have cavities or dental decay, your gums will bleed when you brush your teeth and the affected teeth will hurt. Failing to have your cavities filled will result in tooth loss.
Brittle, Discolored Teeth
As the enamel erosion worsens, you will see the texture, color, length, and shape of your teeth changing. You will notice your teeth becoming more brittle and weaker, chipping easily, and the bottom looking uneven and ragged. They may also appear yellowish or brownish in color.
Sore and Inflamed Salivary Glands
Stomach acids could easily irritate your salivary glands located on the sides of your cheeks. The glands are responsible for producing saliva that moistens your mouth, helps you swallow properly, and safeguards your teeth from decay. When the glands are affected, you will feel swelling and soreness around the jaw.
The acids could also eat away at the skin throughout your entire mouth, even all the way down the throat. In turn, this would result in painful and swollen sores all over the throat and mouth. If not addressed as soon as possible, these sores will eventually become infected.
As the enamel of your teeth further erodes, it will leave your tooth pulp, which is the inner part of the teeth, vulnerable and exposed to various irritants. You will begin to feel pain in your teeth. In most instances, people feel tooth sensitivity and pain when eating and drinking cold and hot foods and drinks. You will also feel pain when you swallow or chew when the damage has spread to your soft palate and gums.
Having dry mouth may seem insignificant, but it is actually so much more than a negligible annoyance. It can impact how you eat by altering the taste of foods. It can also harm your teeth since saliva helps eliminate bacteria that cause various oral health issues.
Resolving oral health issues resulting from bulimia nervosa is easy. You just need to go to your dentist for proper treatment. Your dentist can repair damaged teeth, fill in cavities, and recommend relevant treatments specific to your case.
But for dental treatment to work and continue to work long-term, you will need to seek professional psychiatric help, so you can get a treatment plan for your bulimia nervosa. Remember, your dental treatment will only go so far if you do not stop purging.