An Often Overlooked Impact of Eating Disorders Is Damage Done to Teeth
BINGHAM FARMS, Michigan — Eating disorders are not just a struggle for teenage girls and grown women but also impact young boys and men.
Conservative estimates are that some 1.5 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men in the U.S. suffer from some type of eating disorder such as anorexia and bulimia after puberty.
Dr. Timothy Kosinski, DDS, of SmileCreator in Bingham Farms regularly works with patients to overcome an eating disorder because of the impact on dental health. Bulimia is especially harmful to the teeth.
From constant vomiting, the enamel and dentin coverings on the back of the upper front teeth surfaces will erode, explains Dr. Kosinski. The amount of erosion depends on the frequency and degree of vomiting.
And when the back teeth are affected there will be a change in the bite from the loss of tooth structure. Another problem common with bulimics is swelling of the parotid gland. Bulimia also can result in having a dry mouth because of dehydration from fasting and vomiting and abuse of laxatives and diuretics.
Dr. Kosinski stresses that patients suspected of bulimia should be referred to mental health professionals who are experienced in eating disorders.
“From a dental standpoint, these patients should come in for regular professional cleanings and practice meticulous oral hygiene and home care,” says Dr. Kosinski. “They should rinse vigorously with water immediately after vomiting. The use of ‘artificial saliva’ and daily application of fluoride in custom trays also helps minimize damage to the teeth and gums. Elective cosmetic treatment should not be attempted during the active phase of this disorder.”
A common measure employed by Dr. Kosinski at SmileCreator is a mouth guard that protects the enamel and dentin tooth coverings and tooth structure.
While a preoccupation with food and weight is evident with those who exhibit an eating disorder, often their behavior is compensating for strong feelings and emotions that seem overwhelming. Both emotional and physical health can be adversely affected.
According to information on the National Eating Disorders Association, 42 percent of 1st thru 3rd grade girls want to be thinner, 46 percent of 9-11 year-olds are “sometime” or “very often” on diets, 45 percent of American women are on a diet on any given day, and 80 percent of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance.
Three of the more common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa (characterized by excessive weight loss and self-starvation), Bulimia Nervosa (characterized by binge eating followed by purging) and Binge Eating Disorder (characterized by impulsive eating and excessive weight gain). Bulimics are very good at hiding their disorder.
Persons who suffer from eating disorders should first consult their physician, who can refer patients to the emotional support professional needed, and then should consult their dentist to protect their oral health.
For more information about Dr. Kosinski or SmileCreator go to www.smilecreator.net, call 248-646-8651 or send an email query to firstname.lastname@example.org. SmileCreator is located at 31000 Telegraph Rd., Suite 170, Bingham Farms, MI 48025.
About Dr. Timothy Kosinski: He has practiced general and implant dentistry for 20 years. A graduate of University of Detroit Dental School, he completed comprehensive implant training at Harvard. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry, The International Congress of Oral Implantologists and the American Society of Osseointegration. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and most recently received his Mastership in the AGD in Anaheim this year. Dr. Kosinski has been inducted into the American and International Colleges of Dentists and the Academy of Dentistry International. Dr. Kosinski was selected the Best Dentist in America by his peers in 2004-2005.