Dental Problems That Could Signal an Eating Disorder
Dentists are able to tell a lot about the overall health of a person just by looking in their mouth. The condition of your teeth and other oral structures can show signs of diabetes, stress, and systemic issues. Your dentist will likely also be able to tell if a patient is suffering from an eating disorder.
Due to the fact that most patients with an eating disorder avoid doctors, their dentist is likely to be the first to diagnose this type of disorder. In fact, twenty-eight percent of patients with bulimia are first diagnosed during a routine dental exam.
Dentists are able to detect these common signs in those suffering from anorexia or bulimia:
• Specific wear patterns on the teeth
• Ulcerations in the mouth
• Irritations on the corners of the mouth
• Lesions on the soft palate
• Decreased saliva production
• Enlarged parotid glands (the large salivary glands located between the jaw and the ears)
Many with eating disorders restrict their diet immensely, meaning they don’t get enough food on a daily basis. This can lead to malnutrition. This in particular makes itself known by the condition of the patient’s oral health, most notably in the soft tissues. Chronic ulcerations on the corners of the mouth, painful inflammation, fungal infections, and burning sensations are all common signs.
Dentists will begin treatment by first referring the patient to a proper medical professional. They will then determine the best approach for restoring their dental and oral health. These tactics usually include crowns and root canals.
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