If you're a teenager who is struggling with the life-threatening eating disorder of bulimia, you might seek to avoid visiting the doctor for your annual physical because you know that he or she will talk to you about what is going on. Even if a part of you knows that you need help, having to discuss your eating disorder with a professional can be painful enough to compel you to avoid making appointments. However, you might still continue to see the dentist, and you may not be aware that he or she could be an unexpected ally in your battle against bulimia. This eating disorder isn't one that you can fix overnight, but a visit to a gentle and understanding dentist may be the catalyst to encourage you to get help.
Identification Of The Issue
There may be a lot of people in your life who are unaware of your struggle with an eating disorder. Unlike anorexia, your body weight isn't necessarily below average when you have bulimia, so you may have had success in keeping this condition from those around you. There's a considerable chance that your dentist will identify some concerning signs of bulimia upon assessing your mouth, however. Tooth decay is common because of repeated exposure to harmful stomach acid when you purge, and your gum health may also be poor.
Gentle Discussion About It
Your dentist's primary focus might be on your teeth, but he or she is a medical professional with an obligation to his or her patients. In a non-judgmental manner, your dentist may suggest to you that he or she is aware of what you might be going through with your eating disorder. You can expect the dentist to do so in a quiet voice and perhaps in a private examination room. Your dentist may identify resources that you can use to help you deal with this condition.
Concerns Over The Oral Health Impact
Bulimia can negatively affect your health in a number of ways, but you can expect that your dentist will share some concerns about the role that this eating disorder may already be having inside of your mouth. Tooth decay, gum lesions, and a host of other problems can lead to many complications in the future, including tooth loss and bone loss from bacteria. These aren't problems that you want to face, so getting this education can be another thing to keep in mind as you attempt to put this eating disorder behind you.
For more information, talk to a local pediatric dentist.