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How can I minimize damage to tooth enamel from bulimia?

If you have bulimia, get help. In the meantime, try to minimize the damage to your teeth by rinsing your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after you vomit. Don't brush right away. Also, ask your dentist about daily fluoride  rinses or gels that can strengthen your teeth.
The dental complications from bulimia are from the acid containing vomit during purging. The gastric (stomach) acid causes the outer surface of the tooth to erode. This is most commonly observed on the enamel of the inside of the front teeth.

The damage to the protective enamel makes the teeth highly susceptible to decay, and more serious infections of the nerves within the teeth. The saliva producing (salivary) glands in the mouth can also become swollen due to frequent vomiting. This is most commonly seen in the parotid salivary glands that are inside the cheeks.

The dental effects of bulimia can be quite devastating. I have treated many young women and some men with this disorder. After all of the damaged teeth are repaired, I prescribe highly concentrated fluoride gels for the patient to brush with. The patient needs to keep his or her mouth as clean as possible by brushing and flossing several times a day. I like to see these patients every three to six months to monitor the condition of their mouths. If there is no significant improvement, I will make soft custom trays that cover the teeth. The trays are filled with fluoride and worn while the patient sleeps.

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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.