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It’s our duty to have those difficult conversations, explains Evesham dentist

by Dental Design, on 10th September 2022 | Comments Off on It’s our duty to have those difficult conversations, explains Evesham dentist

Last Updated on 14th October 2022

The dentists at Evesham Dental Health Team on Broadway Road are used to caring for patients in a kind, gentle and non-judgemental way. We feel it is our duty to tackle the difficult subjects that can affect our patients’ dental health and overall wellbeing.

Our dental team is highly experienced and well versed in talking about sensitive issues, such as obesity, depression, dementia, bad breath (halitosis), smoking, cancer, cold sores and diabetes, all of which can affect the health of our mouths or act as a red flag risk factor for more serious conditions.

Sometimes, serious health conditions can cause changes in our mouths first, before they make themselves known in other parts of the body. Dental teams are in the ideal position to identify and act on early signs of health conditions, including eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia.

Around 1.25 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder and many can be recognised by a range of common problems in the mouth.

Around nine-in-ten (90%) patients with bulimia and one-in-five (20%) with anorexia suffer from enamel erosion. Tooth decay, sensitive teeth, dry mouth and enlarged salivary glands are also frequent.

This means that our dentists, dental hygienists, therapists and dental nurses are well placed to help people with eating disorders, which can be picked up during essential dental health examinations or hygiene visits.

Chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, says: “During the routine dental examination, dental teams carry out checks on the hard and soft tissues of the mouth and look for signs of tooth erosion.

“The sooner an eating disorder is suspected or recognised, the more effective treatment will be.  We can link up with medical colleagues who specialise in treating eating disorders.”

In the UK, around 275,000 people suffer from binge eating disorders, 235,000 have bulimia and 100,000 are diagnosed with anorexia.

Those who purge through vomiting often suffer from enamel erosion and those with binge eating disorders may have an increased risk of tooth decay and tooth loss through excessive sugar consumption.

The lack of vitamins and nutrient deficiencies associated with eating disorders can also cause the body to shut down and not function properly.  This will also be reflected by signs in the mouth.

Constant stomach acid on teeth can erode the tooth’s enamel.  As the teeth are weakened, it is also important not to brush straight after being sick as this will further damage the teeth. Instead, whilst they are softer, simply rinse with water or use Tooth Mousse recommended by your dentist.

Our team is able to talk calmly through the clinical signs we are seeing in the mouth, so the more open and honest our patients can be, the better we will be able to help. We may also prescribe a high fluoride toothpaste or varnish to protect teeth from decay.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, please get in touch. We treat all calls in the strictest confidence and will do all we can to help.

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