Bulimia, or bulimia nervosa, is characterized by constant and frequent bouts of binge eating, as well as the associated compulsive vomiting and other unusual ways to avoid gaining weight. One of these ways is deliberate, intentional vomiting. Repeated vomiting puts a strain on oral health and teeth, which in turn can cause, for example, tooth damage due to corrosion, dry mouth and tooth decay. Stomach acid and increased bacterial growth in the mouth can cause tooth decay. Fortunately, help for bulimia and the oral problems caused by it is available.
Both during and after recovery from bulimia, it is common for a person with bulimia to avoid dental care. It can be a matter of shame or difficulties in accepting how serious the effects of vomiting have been on the mouth and teeth. Teeth with visible or palpable damage can cause long-term problems in addition to pain.
Dentists can determine the extent of the damage and assess the need for treatment with regular checkups. Obvious things, such as holes to be patched, follow the same priorities as other patients. But what happens to the erosion of the tooth tissue, i.e. Corrosion, depends on how serious the damage is. Sometimes simply increasing the use of fluoride is enough, but sometimes the teeth even have to be replaced. However, major procedures (such as crowns) should not be performed until the patient has completely recovered from his eating disorder.
It is important to take care of oral health regardless of whether the bulimic has symptoms or has recovered from them. The teeth should be brushed twice a day for two minutes at a time and complete the cleaning of the mouth using dental floss, toothpicks or inter-dental brushes. Can be introduced if necessary also a tongue scraper and mouthwash. If a bulimic has recently vomited, it is important to wait an hour before brushing the teeth. Stomach acid, which corrodes the teeth and lowers the ph balance of the mouth, softens the surface of the tooth, so brushing the teeth mechanically wears away the enamel and tissue.
Instead of brushing, you should rinse your mouth with a product containing fluoride, for example gum, ActiVital, mouthwash. Rinsing helps protect the teeth and freshens the breath. It is important to find out the diagnosis of the eating disorder, even if the patient knows he has bulimia. Based on the diagnosis, getting adequate treatment and applying for dental treatment is much easier. If the patient is under 18 years old, treatment and treatment-related information can be obtained from a health center, student health care or a child and adolescent psychiatrist. If the patient is over 18 years old, treatment can be applied for, for example, through occupational health or at a psychiatric outpatient clinic.