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Eating Disorders Result in Serious Dental Problems

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A new study by researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway has linked eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia with serious dental problems including tooth sensitivity, dental erosion, and facial pain.

The study which is published in the February 2012 edition of the European Journal of Oral Sciences aimed to examine and compare the oral health status of various individuals, some of whom suffered from eating disorders. The study participants with eating disorders were matched in the case-controlled study by age and by sex with other individuals who served as controls. 54 participants in the study who suffered from eating disorders and were undergoing treatment agreed to participate. All the participants were given a questionnaire and underwent a clinical dental examination.

The researchers noted that 36 percent of study participants who suffered from eating disorders also experienced severe dental erosion, whereas only 11 percent of individuals who were not diagnosed with eating disorders were affected. The participants with eating disorders also complained of symptoms such as dry mouth, facial pain, and sensitive teeth.

The study highlights the fact that repeated vomiting (as often takes place during binging and purging with individuals suffering from bulimia) can severely damage teeth and negatively impact oral health. The researchers also point out that the high acid levels which occur during vomiting will damage tooth enamel and lead to dental erosion.

In conclusion, the researchers note that the significant increase in dental problems among those individuals who also suffer from eating disorders provides an important marker to identify the likelihood of an eating disorder in undiagnosed individuals. In addition to this, the research study highlights the need to develop effective dental treatments for those persons who are suffering from anorexia or bulimia.

Source: Medical News Today