People who suffer from bulimia, the eating disorder that involves frequent vomiting as a way to lose weight, are at increased risk for dental problems. The acid from the frequent vomiting can cause the erosion of tooth enamel.
In addition, the frequent vomiting may cause swelling of the salivary glands, and redness and pain in the mouth and on the tongue.
Consequently, dental health care should be part of the treatment for bulimia. In particular, the area on the back side of the upper front teeth is especially susceptible to tooth erosion due to frequent vomiting. Be sure to tell your dentist that you are being treated for bulimia so he or she can pay special attention to the likelihood of tooth decay in this area.
If and when people with severe bulimia are able to get their condition under control, they may need to have some teeth restored with a composite resin, crowns or amalgam fillings. But in extremely severe cases, the teeth may be too eroded to save. They will need to be removed and replaced with dental bridges or implants.
If you or someone you know has bulimia, remember that about three-quarters of people with bulimia suffer from depression, and anti-depressive medications can contribute to gum disease by promoting a dry mouth.