Bulimia and tooth erosion.
Rytomaa I. Jarvinen V. Kanerva R. Heinonen OP.
Department of Cariology, Institute of Dentistry, Helsinki, Finland.
Eating disorders are often associated with regurgitation of gastric contents into the mouth and dental erosion. In this study the dental status was evaluated in bulimic patients. Thirty-five bulimics, diagnosed in the Outpatient Departments of Psychiatry and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, and 105 controls matched for age, sex, and educational level were examined clinically, and the factors associated with dental erosion and caries were evaluated in an interview. Severe dental erosion and dental caries were significantly commoner among bulimics than controls. Bulimics commonly had a low salivary flow rate, but other apparent risk factors of dental erosion did not differ from those of controls. A feeling of dry mouth was commoner among bulimics than controls, and bulimics had an increased tooth sensitivity to cold and touch. More should be done to protect teeth from dental erosion among bulimics, because loss of tooth tissue remains even if the eating disorder disappears.