Bulimia and Anorexia: The Surprising Impact on Your Oral Health

Bulimia and Anorexia: The Surprising Impact on Your Oral Health

Anorexia and bulimia can harm oral health through tooth erosion, gum disease, and oral lesions due to abnormal eating habits and malnutrition. Seeking treatment and developing a comprehensive oral health plan with healthcare providers and dentists can help prevent long-term damage.

Here are some effects of anorexia and bulimia on oral health:

  • Tooth erosion: When someone binges and purges, they expose their teeth to high levels of acid from stomach contents. This acid can erode the enamel on the teeth, leading to sensitivity, discoloration, and even tooth fractures.

  • Gum disease: Gum disease occurs when bacteria in the mouth build up and irritate the gums. People with anorexia and bulimia may have dry mouth due to dehydration and malnutrition, which can increase the risk of gum disease.

  • Oral lesions: Bingeing and purging can cause oral trauma, such as scratches, cuts, and bruises, that can develop into sores, ulcers, and abrasions. These lesions can be painful and make it difficult to eat and speak.

  • Tooth decay: Dry mouth caused by anorexia and bulimia can lead to an increase in bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria can cause tooth decay and cavities, which can be painful and require dental treatment.

  • Changes in taste: Certain medications used to treat anorexia and bulimia can alter the sense of taste, making food less enjoyable and leading to a decrease in food intake. This can impact a person's overall health, including their oral health.

  • Altered wound healing: Malnutrition and anemia can impair the body's ability to heal, which can delay recovery from oral surgery or other dental procedures. This can prolong pain and discomfort.

  • Jawbone problems: In severe cases of anorexia and bulimia, the body may not get enough nutrients to maintain healthy bones. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that weakens the bones and increases the risk of jaw fractures and other problems.

To protect your oral health, individuals with anorexia or bulimia should seek treatment for their eating disorder, maintain a healthy diet, and work with their healthcare provider and dentist to develop a comprehensive oral health plan. This can include regular dental check-ups, brushing and flossing regularly, and drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration and dry mouth.



  1. https://www.dentalhealth.org/blog/how-eating-disorders-can-affect-your-mouth
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920433/
  3. https://nedic.ca/
  4. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders