What Exactly is a Case of an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are a significant mental and physical health problem that plagues our society and may affect anybody, regardless of age, gender, or race. They are also among the most common mental illnesses in the United States. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) estimates that in the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men will be impacted by an eating disorder at some time.
It can have a detrimental impact not only on a person’s physical health but also on their self-image, personal relationships, ability to complete everyday chores, and general quality of life. Eating disorders may substantially impact a person’s body’s capacity to get appropriate nourishment, which can result in a wide range of other health issues. Eating disorders are extremely dangerous, yet there is hope that they can be treated.
Several Categories of Eating Disorders (Mostly Related to Oral Health)
Anorexia is a prevalent eating disorder that may be identified by the sufferer’s exaggerated concern over putting on weight. People with this illness frequently believe that they are overweight, which often drives them to engage in risky activities such as starving themselves or exercising to exhaustion. Those who suffer from anorexia may even purge food from their bodies by forcing themselves to vomit, using laxatives, or giving themselves enemas.
Fear of gaining weight is a defining feature of both anorexia and bulimia. Bulimia is characterized by bingeing and purging. The symptoms of this disorder include bouts of binge eating, followed by episodes of purging, which can take the form of self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, or other drugs.
Researchers have discovered that binge eating disorder is a widespread condition that affects both men and women at a comparable rate. An eating disorder is characterized by recurrent bouts of overindulging in terms of food consumption. When people overeat, they frequently experience feelings of helplessness, followed by feelings of guilt and humiliation. These bouts of overeating are not followed by behaviors associated with purging, as is the case with those diagnosed with bulimia. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), one of the diagnostic criteria for binge-eating disorder is engaging in binge eating an average of at least once per week for three months.
The Negative Impact that Eating Disorders have on a Person’s Dental Health
Eating disorders have been shown to have a major negative impact on patients’ dental health. A lack of proper nourishment as well as potentially dangerous habits like vomiting, can result in a variety of complications. Teeth may be kept strong and healthy with nutrients such as calcium, iron, and B vitamins. Oral sores are one of the symptoms that might result from an iron deficiency. Bad breath, dry mouth, canker sores, and swollen gums are all symptoms linked to insufficient quantities of vitamin B3. Eating disorders have also been linked to degenerative arthritis in the temporomandibular joint in the jaw, which can cause discomfort, persistent headaches, and difficulty chewing.
Signs in your Mouth Suggest you may have an Eating Issue
Remarkably, dental practitioners are sometimes the first individuals to notice the detrimental impacts of eating disorders just by looking inside a patient’s mouth. When stomach acid comes into touch with teeth and the oral tissues surrounding them, vomiting can cause serious damage to a person’s dental health owing to the erosive effects of the acid. This can lead to teeth worn down and transparent, sensitive teeth, dental decay, dry mouth, swollen salivary glands, difficulty swallowing, and other problems related to oral health. Those who struggle with eating disorders are more likely to be malnourished, which can result in various oral health problems, such as mouth ulcers, foul breath, gum disease, and bone loss in the jaws.
Preventing Eating Disorders and Maintaining Good Dental Health are Two of the most Important Health Goals
You must seek professional assistance if you suspect that you or someone you care about is struggling with an eating problem. Eating disorders are extremely difficult conditions that frequently require the assistance of a multidisciplinary group of medical specialists, including your dentist. A prompt diagnosis and treatment can considerably boost a person’s chances of fully recovering. It is essential to maintain excellent oral hygiene by doing appropriate oral hygiene practices, such as brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing your teeth daily. Make it a habit to see your dentist regularly for examinations and cleanings.
Because your teeth are already weakened, you should avoid cleaning them just after you throw up or after being exposed orally to hazardous acids. Doing so might cause more damage to your teeth. Baking soda or a mouth rinse containing fluoride can be used as an alternative to help neutralize the acidic effects of the beverage. To help strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities, your dentist may suggest fluoride treatments performed in the dental office or toothpaste available only by prescription. If you have a dry mouth, your dentist may suggest saliva replacements or sugar-free gum containing xylitol to chew.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating problem, one of the essential things you should be aware of is that assistance is always accessible. This is one of the most crucial things that you should know. Help is available through a hotline provided by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), which is dedicated to assisting anybody affected by eating disorders. Helpline volunteers who have received training may provide anybody in need with assistance, resources, and treatment alternatives, all of which are kept strictly secret. You may text to connect with NEDA at the same number, (800) 931-2237, or phone their hotline at (800) 931-2237. Texting “NEDA” to the number 741741 will connect you to NEDA’s crisis text line, available around the clock, seven days a week.