Bulimia teeth problems

Richard Kerr's picture

Bulimia leads to teeth problems. I learnt first hand from my wife. She suffered a host of teeth problems due to her bulimia

When you purge by self induced vomiting powerful hydrochloric acid from your stomach washes over your teeth causing the protective layer of enamel to wear away. This happens because your mouth, gums and teeth have no real way to defend against contact with stomach acid.

How long do I have to have bulimia before it will affect my teeth?

How quickly damage occurs will totally vary from person to person and you should bear in mind that It can often be difficult to notice tooth damage and enamel loss at first.

Once the protective enamel has been eroded you are left vulnerable to tooth damage and decay as only a soft layer called dentil remains.

You could experience devastating effects and damage to all parts of your mouth and a lot of pain as a result.

Here are some of the most common ways that bulimia can affect you teeth and other parts of the mouth:

  • Severe enamel erosion due to chronic exposure to stomach acid
  • Erosion of dental cement and damage to fillings, braces and other dental fixtures.
  • Bleeding gums
  • Very sensitive teeth
  • Gum disease (gingivitis)
  • Severe and continual dental pain
  • Infections
  • Bulimia can cause salivary gland dysfunction which can result in a dry mouth and an increase in risk of cavities
  • Fillings can become ‘raised’ as teeth literally shrink away
  • Cavities and decay that can lead to tooth abscesses 


It is important to know that dentists warn against brushing your teeth straight after purging because at this time the levels of acid in the mouth are still really high. The brushing effect can cause further erosion. Rinsing out the mouth with water or a fluoride based mouthwash is best.

If your teeth are showing signs of erosion or pain and discomfort it is important that you contact your dentist as soon as possible.

We understand that can be a daunting process, especially if you are not used to talking about bulimia, but rest assured dentists and dental hygienists will know what to do and will be sympathetic to your situation.

Learn more about how to recovery from bulimia

The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.


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