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Bulimia, Anorexia Nervosa and Teeth Problems in Children

Many children and teens adopt strange eating patterns, but if your child develops an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, there could be serious medical and dental consequences. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of eating disorders is important. If your child has anorexia, he or she may eat only very small amounts of food or make excuses to skip meals. The severely restricted diet will lead to dramatic weight loss, malnutrition, and general weakness. Children with bulimia may eat large amounts of food and then vomit to prevent weight gain, causing erosion of teeth. Either disorder can harm your child’s overall health and damage developing teeth.

7 Anorexia and Bulimia Effects on Teeth

Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and teeth problems often go hand in hand. Dental symptoms are related to malnutrition from self-starvation and frequent vomiting, which exposes tooth enamel to powerful stomach acids. The following are common signs of eating disorders your child’s dentist may notice.

  1. Acid erosion of teeth
  2. Sensitivity to hot or cold
  3. Dry, cracked lips
  4. Oral sores that bleed easily
  5. Translucent teeth
  6. Altered shape or length of teeth
  7. Enlarged salivary glands

Anorexia Nervosa and Teeth Problems

While erosion of teeth is the most common sign of bulimia, anorexia manifests in other ways. A severe lack of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids can produce multiple oral health issues due to impairment of immune response, tissue integrity, collagen production, and bone calcification. Malnutrition also leads to periodontal disease such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Anorexia nervosa and teeth problems can cause pale or bluish-red gums, burning or swollen tongue, loose teeth, difficulty swallowing, and inflammation of the corners of the mouth due to anorexia-induced anemia.

Let Your Dentist Help

It can be difficult for your child’s dentist to approach the subject of eating disorders. Many children keep their behaviors a secret. However, leading questions that focus on dental issues may help them to be more honest. If your dentist suspects that your child has an eating disorder, it’s important to get professional medical and psychiatric treatment for him or her as soon as possible. Prompt treatment may prevent serious medical complications as well as anorexia and bulimia effects on teeth.

To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in South Bend, call The Dental Center of Indiana today or make an appointment.


The Dental Center of Indiana offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in South Bend. With 8 affiliated practices throughout Indiana, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At The Dental Center of Indiana, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at The Dental Center of Indiana.

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