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Eating Disorders

Our position

  • Improved pathways of care for those with an eating disorder into and from general dental practice. 
  • Training on discussing eating disorders to be made available to all members of the dental team.
  • Dieticians to have access to training on the impact of diet and eating disorders on oral health. 
  • Improved public information about the impact of eating disorders on oral health. 
  • NICE guidelines to be reviewed to include increased reference to the impact on oral health and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to care. 

What is the Problem?

  • Beat estimates that about 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. 
  • Eating disorders can have a severe impact on oral health in a variety of ways; directly through increased intake of sugary energy drinks and through regular emesis driving regular contact of stomach acids to teeth. Both of these lead to enamel erosion. 
  • Changes to diets and poor nutrition can also affect oral health leading to
    • Enamel erosion,
    • Dry mouth,
    • Enlarged salivary glands,
    • Cracked/dry lips,
    • Mouth sores,
    • Tooth decay,
    • Sensitive teeth,
    • Bruising and/or injury to the mouth. 
  • While members of the dental team are ideally placed to help those with eating disorders they don’t routinely have access to training, information or pathways. 
  • While dentistry is kept on the periphery of the NHS a holistic approach to care will not be possible.