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Can my teen's eating disorder affect her teeth?

Eating disorders can definitely affect your teen's oral health. Without the proper nutrition, gums and other soft tissue inside the mouth may bleed more easily and the glands that produce saliva may swell. If your teen suffers from bulimia, throwing up frequently can also affect the teeth because when strong stomach acid repeatedly flow, enamel can be lost to the point that the teeth change in color, shape and length. The edges of teeth become thin and/or break off easily. Eating hot or cold food or drink may become uncomfortable.

If you suspect your teen has an eating disorder, talk to his or her physician. You should also seek guidance from health professionals trained in eating disorders and consider contacting the National Eating Disorders Associations for information on how to support your child.

Help is available. Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, can significantly affect oral health and diabetes because of a lack of nutrition. If you suspect your child is not eating enough, please check the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) Parent Toolkit (see link), or call the NEDA Helpline. The toolkit can teach you ways to approach your teen and discuss the problem constructively. Naturally, you want to help your child get the nutrition and attention they need for good oral health and overall nutrition

 

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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.