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How can eating disorders affect edentulism?

Vicki Berkus, MD
Psychiatry

Terry Schiavo entered a coma after adopting an "ice tea" diet (related to her bulimia) which could have caused a potassium deficiency leading to irreversible brain damage. People have no idea of how many serious complications can happen when sodium or potassium levels drop in the body due to restricting or purging. The body works on a balance that is carefully maintain metabolically. When this is disrupted, the heart, kidneys or brain can suffer and lead to death.

Eating disorders, particularly bulimia, and their complications are at times a cause of edentulism. In bulimia, the stomach acid that comes up with vomit eats away at your teeth causing decay and erosion. Anorexia and the malnutrition that accompanies it lead to a decrease in saliva production. This decrease in saliva production opens up the mouth for tooth decay and the resulting endentulism.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.