Learn about the common eating disorders encountered by women. For more information call (805) 388-5700. Your dentist Camarillo CA.
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While some men suffer from eating disorders, it is more common that women do. This is largely because our society emphasizes women's physical attractiveness and has made being thin "in." Magazines, television, movies, and billboards conspire to portray a world full of thin, glamorous, beautiful women. While we know in our heads that the world is actually made up of women of all shapes, sizes, heights, and abilities, our emotions often take over when the subject is the way we look.
When a woman begins to use food -- whether too much or too little of it -- to try and express her emotional needs or manage difficult emotions, she has an eating disorder. Disorders may take different forms: binge eating is one, when a woman eats too much or too often. Anorexia occurs when she eats too little or too infrequently. A third disorder is called bulimia, and a woman suffering from this disorder will induce vomiting to purge her system of food she has just eaten, whether or not she was bingeing.
While dentists do not treat eating disorders, they may treat the damage to oral health that results. Bulimia is a disorder that dentists may be the first to diagnose, because the self-induced nausea washes the teeth with acids that erode tooth enamel, as well as the dentin that lies below the enamel. The wear will be smooth and significant, depending on how often the patient purges her system.
Women suffering from anorexia rob their bodies of the needed nutrients to stay healthy. Because the mouth is full of sensitive tissue, dramatic changes to our body will affect our oral health. Loss of weight and bone density will change the shape of our mouth and jaw; lack of calcium and other vitamins will affect our teeth.
Patients who suffer from eating disorders need professional counseling and the support of family and friends. Until emotional health is sound, dental health can only be a secondary consideration. At the same time, when your dentist examines your mouth, he or she is also looking for any signs of larger problems. Your dentist values your health, and may make suggestions to help you value it more. The health of your mouth says a lot, and regular check-ups enable your dentist to provide the care you want and deserve.