I recently had a friend confide in me that she caught her daughter throwing up after a large meal. She became suspicious and started keeping an eye on her daughter’s eating habits. She was devastated to realize that her daughter was bulimic. It was such a surprise, because her daughter had always seemed happy and confident. Plus, she was very popular at school and had lots of friendships. We discussed ways to help her.
First, I wanted her to know that she needed to get her to the dentist as soon as possible. Most people think of going to the doctor for treatment, which is important, however a bulimic’s teeth get very damaged and need to be treated as well. This is especially important because it is generally self-esteem issues that lead to bulimic activity. As their teeth get more and more damaged it will negatively impact their body image.
The acid in the vomit will erode your teeth making them thin and damaged. Eventually, your teeth will become sensitive to hot and cold. This is because the tooth was eroded enough to expose the nerve. The damage isn’t noticeable at first because it is strongest in the back of your teeth.
A dentist treating a bulimic should provide some flouride, which will help decrease sensitivity and slow down decay. After vomiting, you want to rinse your mouth out with water as quickly as possible to help neutralize the acid. Do not brush your teeth right away, because that will grind the acid into your teeth. A dentist can tell you whether or not the patient will need dental crowns.
This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.