Eating disorders cause severe dental erosion
A study by the University of Bergen in Norway
has shown that patients who suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and
bulimia experience substantially more dental health problems – for example,
sensitive teeth, severe dental erosion and facial pain – compared to those
The study underlined that over
one in three people (36%) suffering from eating disorders had “severe dental
erosion”, compared with 11% in the control group. People with an eating disorder
also reported that they frequently suffered facial pains and a dry mouth, as
well as increased tooth sensitivity.
Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, explained
the reasons for the apparent poor oral health, and offered some advice to
“When you vomit repeatedly, as with certain eating disorders, it
can severely affect oral health. The high levels of acid in the vomit can cause
damage to tooth enamel, and frequent vomiting means the saliva in your mouth
won’t have the opportunity to naturally repair the damage. People suffering with
an eating disorder should try, wherever possible, to rinse their mouth after
vomiting to help reduce acid effects. Do not brush immediately after vomiting,
as this may brush away softened enamel. The use of fluoride toothpaste will help
to protect teeth, and chewing sugar-free gum will help to increase saliva flow
and neutralise acids in the mouth. Your dentist can also prescribe high strength
Bodywhys is the Eating Disorder Association of Ireland.
If you have concerns about eating disorders, or for further information, they
can be contacted for advice and support on their lo-call helpline number – 1890
200 144 or at http://www.bodywhys.ie
An apple a day could keep the dentist away too
Older men who eat more fibre-rich fruits can help to
keep periodontal disease from getting worse, according to a study published in
the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.
Eating more high-fibre foods lowers LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
People who eat more fibre are also less likely to be obese. Periodontal (gum)
disease is linked with obesity, so researchers wondered if eating more fibre
could help to reduce periodontal disease.
They studied 625 men who are part of a larger long-term study on ageing. All of
the men had some level of gum disease. The study kept track of the men for an
average of 15 years. They had dental and physical exams every three to five
years, and also filled out food questionnaires. The researchers were interested
in how much fibre the men ate.
researchers found no benefit to eating more fibre in men under the age of
However, in men aged 65 and older,
eating more fibre-rich foods was linked with 24% less bone loss in the jaw. It
also reduced the risk of tooth loss by 28%.
Then the researchers broke out the fibre sources by food group, and found that
only fruits had an effect. Fibre-rich fruits reduced the risk of bone loss by
14% per serving and reduced the risk of tooth loss by 12% per serving.
Fibre-rich fruits include raspberries, pears,
apples, strawberries, bananas, oranges, dried figs and raisins.
Newly identified oral bacterium linked to heart disease and
A new bacterium,thought to be a common
inhabitant of the oral cavity, has the potential to cause serious disease if it
enters the bloodstream, according to a study in the International Journal of
Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. The bacterium was identified by
researchers at the University of Zurich and has been named Streptococcus
tigurinus. S. tigurinus was isolated from the blood of patients
suffering from endocarditis, meningitis and spondylodiscitis (inflammation of
the spine). It bears a close resemblance to other Streptococcus strains
that colonise the mouth. Bleeding gums represent a possible route of entry for
oral bacteria into the bloodstream.
similarity of S. tigurinus to other related bacteria has meant that it
has existed up until now without being identified. Researchers say that further
study is necessary to understand the strategies S. tigurinus uses to
successfully cause disease. This will allow infected patients to be treated
quickly and appropriately.
researcher Dr Andrea Zbinden said that while the discovery is no cause for
alarm, it is important that it is recognised and the risk is quantified. “This
bacterium seems to have a natural potential to cause severe disease, so it’s
important that clinicians and microbiologists are aware of it,” she said. “The
next step is to work out exactly how common this bacterium is in the oral cavity
and what risk it poses.”