Currently as many as 35 million people in the United States are estimated to have an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. While young women and teens are most commonly affected by this disorder, anyone can suffer from eating disorders. Negative effects of an eating disorder largely impact overall health and the signs and symptoms are often noticed at dental appointments.

These specific signs and symptoms include tooth erosion due to the effects of powerful stomach acid, sensitivity, and bad breath. The loss of tooth enamel leads to change in color, shape, and length of teeth. Teeth also become brittle, translucent, and sensitive to temperature. Patients may also experience dry mouth which can contribute to bad breath. Other signs include tender mouth/throat, bleeding gums and cracked lips.

Patients suffering from an eating disorder should seek a dental professional and make him/her aware of the eating disorder. At that time, it may be recommend to have more frequent fluoride applications and continued care visits to ensure that the teeth are not breaking down further. Patients who purge by vomiting are advised to rinse with baking soda in water immediately afterwards to help neutralize stomach acid instead of brushing with toothpaste which could act to further damage the enamel weakened by the stomach acid. The sooner preventative measures are taken, the less chance for permanent damage to the teeth.

Dr. Julie Pruneski is the dentist and owner of Whispering Pines Dental located at 690 Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain, Ohio.  Dr. Pruneski is a current member of the American Dental Association, Ohio Dental Association, Lorain County Dental Society, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and American Academy of Facial Esthetics.  To reserve an appointment with Dr. Pruneski, call 440-282-2023.  Check us out on Facebook at