BrightWhitesByDrWhite

Smile Tips for All Parts of Life from a Mom, Wife, and Dentist

September 28, 2016

Suspect Your Child Has an Eating Disorder? Ask Her Dentist


Eating Disorders and Healthy Choices
Over half a million teens struggle with eating disorders, most commonly anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.  According to new studies, eating disorders are the third most common chronic disease among adolescents, following obesity and asthma. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published new recommendations for Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders. Rather than discussing weight loss with your child, they encourage parents to discuss healthy eating habits and exercise.

Eating disorders are serious physical and emotional problems and can have life-threatening consequences. They can also affect productivity and relationships. Dentists commonly witness evidence of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia represented by specific patterns of tooth erosion, soft tissue changes on the lining of the oropharanx or throat from vomiting, as well as a characteristic sweet malodor from ketoacidosis, which can be associated with starvation.

Dentist Check-Up

It may be difficult to confront your child about a possible eating disorder. Due to the frequency of routine dental visits, children may see their family dentist more regularly than the pediatrician. If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, you may want to inquire with the dentist at her next visit.  

Eating disorders are all too common and can affect the entire family. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families eat meals together to give parents the opportunity to demonstrate healthy choices and also to display positive body image. Busy schedules often keep us from traditional scheduled mealtimes. Food shopping with your child can provide an opportunity to discuss the nutritional benefits from healthy food choices.

Whether it's a school nurse, your family dentist, or your child's pediatrician, the healthcare community is your resource for general health and well being. To learn more about eating disorders, prevention, and treatment, visit the National Eating Disorders website.

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