Did you know figures suggest that 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder, 40% of whom are bulimic?
That’s according to Beat (www.b-eat.co.uk), which helps sufferers in the UK beat their eating disorders and runs Eating Disorders Awareness Week (24 February – 2 March 2014) with the aim of raising awareness of the health implications of these disorders.
Bulimia often involves a cycle of eating a very large amount of food and then making yourself sick. It is a hidden problem, because sufferers tend to have a normal body weight or be slightly overweight. However, this condition can result in a number of health problems, including damage to the teeth.
The British Dental Health Foundation explains why: ‘Because there are high levels of acid in the vomit, this can cause damage to tooth enamel.’
The acid that ends up in the mouth following extended periods of intentional vomiting can cause the teeth to become short and unattractive, as well as rough or sensitive.
Professor Andrew Eder, clinical director of the London Tooth Wear Centre, commented: ‘Regular vomiting can result in tooth erosion and dentists are, therefore, well positioned to be the first health professional to spot the signs of an eating disorder. We understand the challenges faced by sufferers and are here to help, so don’t be worried about talking to your dentist.’
Anyone concerned that they are suffering from an eating disorder is advised to seek help from a medical professional, as well as a dentist to help prevent future tooth wear.
Simple steps to help protect the teeth include:
• Waiting at least an hour to brush teeth after vomiting
• Chewing sugar-free gum after vomiting
• Using a toothpaste that contains at least 1400ppm fluoride and a soft to medium non-abrasive toothbrush
• Using a fluoridated mouthwash every day at a different time to tooth brushing, as well as before or after vomiting, to help limit the erosive potential.
If you are worried about your teeth, the London Tooth Wear Centreoffers a comprehensive approach to managing tooth wear in a friendly environment. For further information, visit www.toothwear.co.uk, email [email protected] or call 020 7486 7180.