Bulimia: simple steps to better dental heath

Figures suggest that 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder. That’s according to beat (www.b-eat.co.uk), which helps sufferers in the UK beat their eating disorders and runs Eating Disorders Awareness Week (23 February – 1 March 2015) with the aim of raising awareness of the health implications of these disorders.

Eating disorders are by-products of the body conscious society in which we live. Bulimia nervosa is more common than anorexia nervosa; however both are sadly rising in prevalence.

The extended periods of intentional vomiting instigated by those suffering from bulimia nervosa have considerable impact on a sufferer’s teeth, causing tooth wear and sensitivity.

The good news is that there are some simple steps people can take to help reduce and prevent further damage, including:

• Rinsing the mouth after vomiting with water for 15-30 seconds to dilute any remaining acids

• Waiting at least an hour after vomiting before brushing the teeth

• Using a toothpaste low in abrasivity and fluoridated to a minimum of 1400ppm

• Using a fluoridated mouthwash every day at a different time to tooth brushing, as well as before or after vomiting to help limit the erosive potential

• Chewing sugar-free gum, especially that containing xylitol, after vomiting to help neutralise the acidic environment in the mouth.

It’s definitely a good idea to talk to your dentist as early as possible if you have any worries about your oral health so that any damaging effects can be talked about and tackled. Dentists are trained to understand the issues that affect the health of your mouth. They can help to make sure you are not in pain, your teeth work as they should and, over the longer time, to improve how your teeth look if that’s what you want.

If you have any concerns about tooth wear or would simply like some preventive advice, please contact the London Tooth Wear Centre – visit www.toothwear.co.uk, email info@toothwear.co.uk or call 020 7486 7180.

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If you are concerned about the possibility of tooth wear and would like to know how best to proceed but are unable to come to the practice right now, there is a new way we can help. Please take a picture of your smile, upload it here and add any comments in the message box below. We will then be in touch with advice to help you.

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