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How do eating disorders cause tooth erosion?

Eating disorders can severely affect a person’s oral health. Without the proper nutrition, gums and other soft tissue inside the mouth may bleed easily. The glands that produce saliva may swell and individuals may experience chronic dry mouth. Throwing up frequently can cause tooth erosion. That’s because when strong stomach acid repeatedly flows over teeth, the tooth’s enamel can be eroded to the point that the teeth change in color, shape and length. The edges of teeth become thin and break off easily. Eating hot or cold food or drink may become uncomfortable.

Eating disorders arise from a variety of physical, emotional and social issues all of which need to be addressed to help prevent and treat these disorders. Family and friends can help by setting good examples about eating and offering positive comments about healthy eating practices. While eating disorders appear to focus on body image, food and weight, they are often related to many other issues. Referral to health professionals and encouragement to seek treatment is critical as early diagnosis and intervention greatly improve the opportunities for recovery.
Eating disorders such as bulimia lead to tooth erosion because of repeated vomiting that exposes tooth enamel to stomach acid. Some other eating disorders keep the person from getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain strong teeth and bones. 

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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.