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Study links eating disorders to tooth decay

Posted by Joanne Mellor

A new study has highlighted the impact eating disorders can have on oral health levels.

According to researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway, patients with an eating disorder – such as anorexia and bulimia – had significantly more dental health problems, including tooth sensitivity, facial pain and severe dental erosion, than those without.

They found more than one in three of those with an eating disorder (36 per cent) had what was described as ‘severe dental erosion’, compared to just 11 per cent of the control group.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter suggested the regular vomiting involved in eating disorders could be an explanation.

He pointed out there is a high amount of acid in vomit and this causes damage to the enamel of teeth, adding: “Acid attacks of this sort on a frequent basis means the saliva in your mouth won’t have the opportunity to naturally repair the damage done to your teeth by the contact with the acidic vomit.”

One in every 200 women is affected by anorexia, according to NHS figures.

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