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How Do Eating Disorders Affect Oral Health?


It is estimated that more than 10 million American men and women suffer from one or more eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. While the images most commonly associated with these types of disorders include emaciated movie stars and ultra-thin runway models, the truth is that the majority of people struggling with these conditions look “normal” on the outside – despite the psychological misery they hide inside. Unfortunately, eating disorders can affect more than your mind and waist size; even a few months of disordered eating habits can wreak havoc on your oral health as well. At the Naperville, IL office of Dr. Paul V. Caputo, we help patients suffering from these unique issues reclaim their smiles and dental health with preventive and restorative dentistry.

Oral Health and Disordered Eating

Individuals who suffer from bulimia (a condition characterized by repetitive bingeing and purging of large amounts of food) are at a severe risk for enamel erosion, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. The oral cavity cannot sustain such an acidic environment, and excessive brushing after regurgitation further exacerbates the issue. Anorexic patients, whose diet is so restricted so as to starve the body completely, typically lack the vitamins, fluids, and other essentials that are critical to a healthy mouth. Gums may begin to recede within as few as six months of behavior, and dry mouth due to dehydration increases the risk of decay.

Even men and women who have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder may be surprised to discover that their dentist is concerned about their eating habits. Excessive snacking and bingeing on sweet or salty foods accelerates the process of enamel erosion and decay. Fortunately, Dr. Caputo and his kind, understanding team can help, offering a variety of restorative treatments and preventive measures to bring your smile back to health.

Dental Care for Patients with Eating Disorder

If you or someone in your family is affected by an eating disorder and you are concerned about the consequences this may have on oral health, contact our office in Naperville, IL today. Rather than the judgmental reprimands that so many ED sufferers fear, we will simply offer our expertise and assistance in getting your smile back to its proper, healthy state. We also gladly welcome families from nearby areas in Aurora, Bolingbrook, Plainfield, Romeoville, and northwestern Illinois.

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