There is no doubt that physical and mental health are closely connected. There is evidence to suggest that anyone experiencing mental illness may also be suffering with poor oral health too. Some of the most common mental illnesses that can have a negative impact on a person’s oral health include eating disorders. February 25th – March 3rd is National Eating Disorder Week. It is an international awareness event, fighting the myths and misunderstandings that surround anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise specified).
What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses involving disordered eating behaviour. This can mean limiting food eaten, eating very large amounts, getting rid of food eaten through unhealthy means, or a combination of two or more of these. Eating disorders are not all about food itself, but about feelings. The way the person interacts with food may make them feel more able to cope, or may make them feel in control.
It is estimated that eating disorders affect over 700,000 people in the UK. An eating disorder may cause lingering or even permanent damage to the teeth and mouth. For example, if you don’t have enough calcium in your diet this can severely weaken your teeth. Anyone suffering from a condition such as bulimia can experience dental erosion owing to acidity in vomit. Compulsive eating means that teeth are constantly under acid attack from food with no time to recover. This compulsive habit can also lead to obesity which in turn can lead to type 2 diabetes and all its associated health risks.
Routine dental check ups
A dentist often notices early signs of eating disorders during a routine check up. Tooth decay, very sensitive teeth, cracked, dry lips, mouth sores, poor condition of gums and bad breath are some of the early warning signs. This is just one more reason to make sure you and your family have dental check ups regularly, as frequently as you are advised to do so by your dentist.
Revive Dental Care welcomes new NHS patients to join us at our practices in Monton, Davyhulme, Salford and Ancoats.