Every Body Has a Seat at the Table: Eating Disorder Awareness

February 21st, 2021

Every year, many organizations and individuals across the nation recognize National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness), which is the biggest and most recognized eating disorders education effort in the United States. This year, NEDAwareness Week runs from Monday, February 22 - Sunday, February 28. This national event aims is to shed light on eating disorders through educating, spreading hope, and making resources accessible to individuals in need. The theme for 2021 is "Every Body to Has a Seat at the Table."

According to the campaign, approximately 30 million people in the United States will be affected by an eating disorder during their lifetime. Even though this year brings additional challenges as we combat COVID-19, communities across the nation are still coming together to raise awareness through social media events, virtual discussions, and more informative and cool activities.

As reported by the National Eating Disorders Association, eating disorders have been found to be most common in teenagers and young adult women, although they can effect people of any gender or age. Eating disorders can negatively impact a person's physical and mental well-being, and have an effect on personal relationships, confidence, and overall performance at life tasks. In addition, eating disorders can have a significant impact on an individual's oral health. Your teeth, gums, and the surrounding oral tissues depend on healthy nutrients and a healthy diet.

Eating disorders can stem from many physical, mental and social hardships. If you suffer from an eating disorder, it’s important to talk to your health care providers so that proper diagnosis and treatment can begin.

So, what are some of the different types of eating disorders?

  • Anorexia: Individuals with anorexia may experience severe fear of gaining weight and may experience negative thoughts on the way their body appears. Signs may include individuals starving themselves to avoid gaining weight, and excessive exercise.
  • Bulimia: This condition is similar to anorexia in the sense that individuals may also have fears of being overweight. However, individuals may also experience periods of overeating/binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting, purging, misusing laxatives, or fasting throughout the day or several times throughout the week.
  • Binge Eating or Compulsive Overeating: This condition involves individuals who binge eat but do not regularly try to purge the food. Individuals may experience feelings of guilt, making it easier to continue to overeat.

In fact, your dentist may be the first to notice the signs of an eating disorder as changes in the mouth are often the first physical signs that become noticeable. Unfortunately, eating disorders can cause permanent damage to the teeth and oral tissues. Recognizing the signs of an eating disorder early can help lead to a better and easier road to recovery for the body and mouth.

Some of the oral consequences of eating disorders include:

  • Easily bleeding gums
  • Swollen salivary glands which may cause Individuals to experience chronic dry mouth, increasing the risk of developing tooth decay.
  • Lack of nutrients that promote healthy teeth such as calcium, iron and vitamins B and D can also increase the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Lack of iron can lead to the development of oral sores. Similarly, improper amounts of vitamin B3/niacin can lead to bad breath (halitosis) and the development of oral canker sores. Gums may also become puffy and red.
  • Frequent vomiting causes the tooth enamel, or the outer layer of your teeth, to become weak, eroded, soft, and become yellow in color due to the highly acidic environment created from stomach acids. This can create tooth sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods or drinks, and eventually lead to tooth and tissue loss. As enamel wears away, the layer underneath, the dentin, can become exposed and in extreme cases the pulp, which is the next layer of the tooth underneath the dentin, can be exposed and cause infection and pulp death. Tooth decay can even be worsened by extensive tooth brushing following vomiting due to the acidity and weakened state of the mouth.

    Water should be rinsed with following purging to help reduce the high acidic content in the mouth. Vomiting can also induce inflammation, cuts, and soreness of the roof of the mouth/soft palate.

  • Degenerative arthritis of the jaw's temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are also associated with eating disorders. This can lead to jaw pain, chronic headaches, and problems chewing and opening/closing the mouth.

If you suffer from an eating disorder, it is important to contact a health professional. To help reduce associated oral health issues it is also important to maintain oral health care by proper tooth brushing and flossing, and frequent visits to your dentist. Your dentist may provide fluoride rinses or other products to help remineralize tooth enamel.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.


Menopause: Possible Mouth Changes to Watch Out For

October 28th, 2013

shutterstock_59839630Menopause is a season where women tend to feel the many changes that occur. Many focus on the bodily changes and usually overlook differences that could be found in the mouth, where hormones can lead to unfavorable consequences. While this process is completely natural, signaling the end of female fertility, women should be aware of the mouth changes they are experiencing. Here are some of the potential changes and problems that have been associated with menopause:


Dry mouth: Because of the hormone fluctuations that occur during the time of menopause, the decreased levels of estrogen can lead to mouth dryness. Without sufficient saliva in the oral cavity, teeth become more susceptible to tooth decay and other infections. Saliva also plays an important role in the chewing and breaking down of food, allowing nutrients to enter the body.


Burning mouth syndrome: This condition tends to affect the tongue, gums, and lips, and even inside the cheeks of the mouth. The burning sensation primarily comes forth from problems with taste and sensory nerves, but can also be the consequence of dry mouth, nutritional deficiency, and allergic reactions to certain foods and medications. It is important to look out for these symptoms and to consult a dentist on possible ways to ease the pain.


Periodontitis and mucosal changes: Gum disease is also something to look out for when hitting menopause. Mucosal changes can also results in changes in appearance of gums, where they tend to look more pale, dry and shiny. Gums also tend to bleed more due to these changes.


Eating disorders: Going through menopause can take a psychological toll on some women, resulting in inconsistent and improper eating habits. These eating habits can be very detrimental for teeth, leading to erosion of tooth enamel. When tooth enamel is stripped down, teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and they are more susceptible to cavities.


While these are problems that may arise during menopause, it is always possible to discuss possible solutions to these issues. Dentists should be notified of these changes, and they can aid in alleviating these symptoms and suggesting viable treatment plans. Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or






Eating Disorders and Their Effect On Oral Health

September 18th, 2013

Eating disorders continue to be a pressing issue in our nation. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), up to 24 million people of all ages and gender suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder) in the U.S. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) explains that eating disorders usually involved extreme attitudes and emotions towards weight and food issues. This disorder can ultimately have a grave impact on health, productivity and relationships. While most people know that eating disorders affect the individuals’ body, including their bones as well as their heart, these disorders also have detrimental consequences on teeth.


Without sufficient nutrition, gums and other soft tissue that are in the mouth may have a greater tendency to bleed. The glands that are responsible for the production of saliva may become inflamed, leading to chronic dry mouth. The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that tooth surfaces are in danger during the course of the disease when people decide to clear the contents of their stomach through their mouth. The teeth are then exposed to harsh gastric acids that can wear down teeth, leaving them thin and translucent. Teeth will become brittle and will be more susceptible to chipping.


The ADA also provides some treatment options to ease oral health consequences of eating disorders. Patients who purge by vomiting are advised to rinse with baking soda to neutralize the harmful effects of stomach acid. Patients should also be assessed in terms of their oral health, with treatment options including additional fluoride modalities. What is most important is that family and friends help set good examples of healthy eating habits and offer positive encouragement should surround the individuals suffering from eating disorders. Please feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or





Eating Disorders and Teeth

April 23rd, 2012

Did you know that eating disorders are a leading cause of dental problems? These compulsive diseases are known to cause several problems, such as enamel erosion, sensitivity to hot and cold, and decreased saliva production.

Continuous vomiting leaves teeth susceptible to stomach acids, which eat away at enamel. The teeth deteriorate and become candidates for major problems. Extensive decay, breakage, and even tooth loss are all associated with eating disorders.

Numerous cavities over a small amount of time are a major problem for patients with eating disorders. Binging and purging are to blame for this. The sugar in food assaults tooth enamel when it’s consumed and purging subsequently washes the teeth in stomach acid. This acid is highly corrosive to teeth. Also, because eating disorders leave teeth highly fragile, infection is a possibility.

At Wellesley Dental Group, Drs. Ali are happy to help turn your oral health around. They will evaluate your mouth and devise a treatment plan to restore your smile to its radiant beauty. Please call us at 781-237-9071 or email us at to schedule an appointment today!

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