Dentists are able to spot the initial signs on eating disorders.
Dentists can play a key role in the detection of health conditions including anorexia nervosa and bulimia according to new research from King’s College London.
Data which has been published in the British Dental Journal has found that many of the medical conditions that result in the erosion of tooth enamel serious and even possibly fatal consequences if left undiagnosed or untreated.
Dentists can see more than just cavities!
Dentists are able to identify patients who are suffering from eating disorders. This is because dentists can spot signs of erosion of the insides of the upper front teeth facing towards the roof of the mouth, but also of the physical and psychological indicators of the conditions.
Eating disorders can be fatal if not treated effectively with both mental and physical therapies. Unfortunately, ED’s are becoming more and more common. Eating disorders affect an estimated 725,000 people in the UK – at a cost of around £15 billion per annum. It has been reported that the sooner the initial signs are spotted, the more likely the disorder is to be tackled effectively. This benefits both the patient and the NHS.
What do eating disorders do to your teeth?
Those with anorexia nervosa will struggle to have healthy teeth. Missing out on vital vitamins and mineral means that teeth will become brittle, weaken and may even fall out due to gum recession.
Those with bulimia suffer from sever tooth erosion because of frequent exposure to acidity against tooth enamel. When tooth enamel erodes, teeth become weak and sensitive. They will also become much more susceptible to tooth decay.
Why is spotting the signs so crucial?
Lead author Dr Rebecca Moazzez, Reader and Consultant in Restorative Dentistry said: ‘There is a clear benefit to patients of the dental team being able to pick up on the early signs of conditions such as eating disorders or acid reflux, which may appear very subtle and difficult to detect.
Dental examinations should include the possibility of detecting signs of eating disorders. If detected, appropriate referral and liaison with medical professionals instigated, leading to better outcomes for the patient.
The role of dentists to spot the subtle signs of an eating disorder in its initial stages may be helpful in early identification. This has a better outlook for successful management.
If you would like further information regarding eating disorders, there is very useful information at:
If you are worried about your teeth because you’ve experienced an eating disorder, one of our dentists can help you. On Defacto Dentists, we have thousands of dentists around the UK who are ready and waiting to treat you. Head to our website, www.defactodentists.com and search your location to find your perfect dentist.