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
Enlarged salivary glands,
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.