• Blog >
  • Erosion and Other Problems may be Signs of Bulimia
RSS Feed

Erosion and Other Problems may be Signs of Bulimia

0344922001568124534.jpg

The mouth isn’t an island unto itself — problems there may be indicative of deeper physical or emotional issues.  The condition of a family member’s teeth and gums, for example, could be signs of bulimia, an eating disorder.

Characterized by food binging and purging through self-induced vomiting, bulimia can also have a severe effect on the teeth. Regular inducement of vomiting introduces stomach acid into the mouth that can attack and soften the mineral content of tooth enamel. As a result, 90% of bulimics develop enamel erosion.

The erosion pattern often differs from that produced by other high acid causes like the over-consumption of sodas. Because the tongue instinctively covers the back of the bottom teeth during vomiting, they’re often shielded from much of the acid wash. Bulimics are much more apt to exhibit heavier erosion on the upper front teeth, particularly on the tongue side and biting edges.

Bulimia and similar disorders produce other signs as well, like soft tissue ulceration or swollen salivary glands that exhibit puffiness of the face. The roof of the mouth, throat and back of the tongue may appear roughened from the use of fingers or objects to induce gagging.

Unlike sufferers of anorexia nervosa who tend to be negligent about their hygiene (which itself increases their risk of dental disease), bulimics have a heightened sensitivity to their appearance. This concern may prompt them to aggressively brush right after purging, which can cause more of the softened enamel to be removed.

Treating the dental consequences of bulimia requires a two-pronged approach. In the short term, we want to lessen the impact of stomach acid by discouraging the person from brushing immediately after purging — better to rinse with water and a little baking soda to buffer the acid and wait about an hour before brushing. We may also suggest a sodium fluoride mouth rinse to help strengthen and re-mineralize the enamel.

In the long-term, though, the disorder itself must be addressed through professional help. One good source is the National Eating Disorders website (nationaleatingdisorders.org). Besides information, the association also provides a toll-free helpline for referrals to professionals.

As with any eating disorder, bulimia can be trying for patients and their families. Addressing the issue gently but forthrightly will begin their journey toward the renewal of health, including their teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on the effect of eating disorders on dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bulimia, Anorexia & Oral Health.”

Contact Us

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30 am-2:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-8:00 pm

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-2:00 pm

Saturday:

By Appointment Only

Sunday:

Closed

Patient Reviews

  • "Pleasant and professional.
    Dr Shukla and staff provide excellent dental and dental hygiene services. Have been coming to this office for over 25 years. Recommended to all."
    Keith K.
  • "Excellent dentist.
    I had a great experience at Great Smiles, my tooth was filled with no problems and the staff is wonderful."
    Linda F.
  • "Everyone in Dr. Sukla’s office received me with cheerful and friendly attitude. Though it was my first visit, I felt very much at home with her great staff. Dr. Sukla had also talked to me with politeness and did a very good job in attending to my dental requirements."
    S K.
  • "Gentle lady! Friendly and knowlegeable! A fun visit -- you can believe me."
    Florence D.
  • "Dr Shukla, Donna, Diane, Joy and Priscilla are terrific. Professional, knowledgeable, thorough, clean, on time, and very friendly. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m actually at the dentist. There can’t be a better dental office anywhere."
    Jim F.
  • "Super friendly staff & very professional.
    Everyone in the office is so nice and friendly and accommodating...Dr is soooo sweet and very professional...highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a great dentist!!! And great customer service and professionalism!!"
    Marcie M.
  • "Always good.
    Dr. Shukla’s staff always provide warm, caring & professional service!"
    Keith P.
  • "Great experience.
    Very grateful a appointment was arranged immediately as I was in pain, even though I was a new patient. The office and appointment rooms clean and comfortable. I was very impressed with the kind professional attention given and how Quickly my problem was addressed. Great experience! I have been searching for a good dentist in the area and am happy to have found one."
    Shirley W.
  • "High quality, professional dental care.
    Doctor Shukla is a great, highly skilled and very thorough dentist. A few months ago Dr Shukla placed a new crown on a tooth (recommended by Dr Swingle) , which went extremely well. Also it is always a pleasure to have the teeth cleaned by Donna, a very professional and friendly dental hygienist."
    Elizabeth S.
  • "High quality of service, professional.
    Dr Shukla provided excellent service and comfort during the procedure."
    Gary F.
  • "High quality service.
    Dr Shukla and staff are very friendly and personable. I’ve had several tooth emergencies and Dr Shukla and staff have helped me out even on their off days. Dr Shukla is very focused on patient satisfaction. I would definitely recommend Great Smiles to anyone in need of a dentist."
    Aurea M.
  • "Professional and friendly.
    Dr Shukla and her team are very caring and accommodating. I actually look forward to my dental appointments!"
    Peter G.
  • "Dental Work.
    Doctor is very patient and caring. I would highly recommend!"
    Donna W.
  • "Always high quality care.
    I have gone to this practice for years and have come to know the staff well. They are all great! Dr. Shukla provides excellent examinations and kind, careful treatment. Donna is a wonderful hygienist; not only does she do expert teeth cleaning, but she answers all questions thoroughly. She clearly takes pride in her profession and is up to date on current standards of care. I highly recommend 'Great Smiles.'"
    Julie D.
  • "Great service by wonderful people.
    The entire staff are welcoming and thoughtful. Dr Shutla is a great dentist who I highly recommend."
    Russ G.
  • "Dental work? No big deal.
    Dr. Shukla & her staff are always friendly, helpful, calming & efficient, making dental visits easy & stress-free."
    Pat G.
  • "Very professional. Dr. AND STAFF are excellent."
    Patti S.
  • "Excellent dentist and staff
    Our family has been going to this office for at least 25 years. The staff there are more than wonderful. When Dr. Swingle retired we were hoping the new dentist would be good so we could continue our relationships there. Well, we are delighted with Dr. Shukla’s care! Always thorough, gentle, very competent and just personally lovely. Office immaculately clean too. Some nice added amenities like beverages and TVs which frankly are pleasant but not necessary when the professional services (from cleanings to crowns) are first rate!"
    Liz F.
  • "Great group!
    Very friendly, efficient and professional!"
    Stan K K.
  • "Very professional and friendly.
    Dr. Shukla and her staff provide a very professional and relaxed atmosphere. I find everyone to be extremely accommodating and friendly."
    John B.
  • "Professional and friendly... It's like visiting family!
    Always enjoy seeing the folks at Great Smiles... Always on top of things, efficient and effective!!!"
    Peter G.
  • "High Quality Service.
    Awesome office....Very Professional staff... Dentist and staff intently listens to your concerns... Very happy!!"
    Laura D.
  • "Crown prep.
    Dr . Shukla is an excellent doctor . Very caring and gentle during the procedure for my crown ....dental hygienist Priscilla was very good and easy to work with ."
    Bob F.
  • "I love the warm and caring personality of Dr Shukla. This warmth is carried over to her staff who are both professional and caring."
    Florence D.
  • "I love the warm and caring personality of Dr Shukla. This warmth is carried over to her staff who are both professional and caring."
    Florence D.
  • "Professional and friendly"
    Karen F.
  • "Always a pleasure."
    Teri B.
  • "Always great care, timely, efficient and very kind staff"
    Richard S.
  • "High quality service.
    Wonderful and efficient staff!"
    L P.
  • "I just went for my 6 month cleaning and checkup . It’s always a great experience ( the best you could have at a dentist!!) the whole office staff are so friendly and yet professional. Dr. Shukla is very thorough, gentle , professional and nice !! Couldn’t be better :) I highly recommend them!"
    Joanne C.
  • "Professional & friendly service.
    When you open the door to Great Smiles you are greeted with a smile. The staff does everything to make you feel relaxed and at ease. Very professional on all fronts and answer questions with just the right amount of information. I would definitely recommend Great Smiles."
    Trisha Y.
  • "The best.
    Great attention. Always on time. You will feel so confident!"
    Gloria L.
  • "High quality dentistry.
    Great smiles dental has high quality service with a team that makes you feel at home. They always explain what they are doing or going to do helping to keep you informed about your teeth and mouth."
    Mickey C.
  • "High quality very professional friendly service.
    Dr Shukla is a exceptional dentist and her entire staff and office are all 5 stars ⭐️ I absolutely have and will continue to recommend Dr Shukla."
    Shirley W.
  • "Very friendly and professional staff.
    Been going here for over 20 years.... Always great service and always on schedule with minimal wait times... All staff is super friendly and professional... HIGHLY recommend for anyone looking for a dentist in the Westfield area!"
    Marcie M.
  • "Because you should want to go to your dentist
    Another good visit to Dr Shukla at Great Smiles. Always a pleasure checking in to the office and the waiting room is now equipped with cold drinks and Nespresso coffee maker, although I actually didn't have to wait. Came in for teeth cleaning with Donna, followed by a dental exam. Dr Shukla is thorough, gentle and caring, clearly taking a long-term view toward maintaining heathy teeth and gums. Many thanks, see you in six months!"
    Malcolm W.
  • "Dr. Shukla is the best!!!
    I have been a patient of Dr. Shukla for several years. I called the office with a dental issue this afternoon and saw her within an hour. Dr. Shukla is empathetic and reassuring, and she always takes the time to answer any questions you may have. I am very happy with this dental practice and highly recommend Dr. Shukla!"
    Jackie B.
  • "Dr. Shukla and all support staff at Great Smiles are highly competent, caring and efficient! My family of 6 has been receiving wonderful dental care from them for years."
    Lucy R.
  • "Careful, thorough, and proficient.
    Dr. Shukla has a calm and pleasant demeanor. She is careful, thorough and proficient in her dental work. All of her staff are experienced, friendly, and very professional."
    Rob L.
  • "Great experience.
    Doctor Shukla is a great, highly skilled and very thorough dentist."
    Anuj G.
  • "Wonderful dentist and staff !
    Everyone at Great Smiles are professional, friendly and a pleasure to deal with. I actually, kind of, look forward to going. I highly recommend Dr. Shukla and her entire staff."
    Russ G.