Thousands of Americans struggle with eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. These illnesses can quickly have a severe impact on your overall health, including your oral health. Your teeth are sometimes the first to show damage, but your TMJ (temporomandibular joint), gums and other soft tissues may pay the price for your malnutrition.
Our dentist in Houston, Dr. Konig, recently became a treatment provider for Houston Eating Disorders Specialists and is available to help you or a loved one reverse some of these dental signs of an eating disorder:
- Malnutrition and Gum Disease: Calcium, iron and vitamin B deficiencies promote the growth of tooth decay and gum disease. You’re more susceptible to mouth sores, bad breath, canker sores and your lips may even suffer from dehydration as well.
- Vomiting and Tooth Enamel Erosion: Throwing up repeatedly subjects your teeth to strong stomach acid, making the protective enamel coating your teeth erode. This causes an array of serious problems such as brittle, translucent teeth that may break off and become vulnerable to infection.
- The Jaw Joint and Arthritis: TMJ disorders (TMD) are fairly common among men and women and often go undiagnosed. Eating disorders can lead to degenerative arthritis in the TMJ, which hinges your lower jaw to your skull, leading to chronic headaches, issues opening or closing your mouth and other TMD symptoms.
- Soft Tissues and Scrapes in the Mouth: The soft palate on the top of your mouth is a sensitive area. These tissues can become red and could be scratched or cut due to repeated purging. This is a sign that an eating disorder is extremely severe as it takes a lot to damage this area.
- Purging and Salivary Gland Enlargement: The consistent cycling of binging and purging associated with bulimia can eventually lead to the visible enlargement of the salivary glands, which can become painful and emotionally distressing.
Eating disorders are all too common. There are many groups advocating for awareness and speedy treatment of individuals suffering from anorexia and bulimia. There are many ways to approach treating these illnesses, and they require a team of doctors and specialists. Dr. Konig can help treat the dental signs arising from your or your loved one’s condition.
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder and have noticed changes in your oral health, please call Ronald Konig, DDS, FAGD, LVIF, FIACA in Houston today at (713) 425-1302 to schedule your dental exam. Dr. Konig serves patients in Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and surrounding areas of Texas.