Eating disorders take a heavy toll on people who suffer from them–according to the National Eating Disorders Association, some 10 million Americans have an eating disorder. One part of the body that's especially vulnerable to damage from these is the mouth.
Just like the rest of our bodies, our mouths need vitamins, minerals and protein. An imbalance of nutrients common with eating disorders causes gums to recede and teeth to discolor and weaken. The frequent binge/purge cycle that comes with anorexia and bulimia erodes tooth enamel, causes chronic dry mouth (xerostomia), dries and cracks lips, and makes lesions appear on gums and the tongue. And eating disorders can degenerate the jaw joint, causing chronic headaches and difficulty chewing.
Eating disorders require specific dental care. Your dentist will be able to recognize effects from any such condition and recommend treatment for the oral problems they cause.