Eating Disorders & Your Oral Health

Eating disorders are characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior. The practice of an eating disorder can be viewed as a survival mechanism. Just as an alcoholic uses alcohol to cope, a person with an eating disorder can use binging, purging or restricting food to deal with their problems. Some of the underlying issues that are associated with eating disorders include low self-esteem, depression, feelings of loss of control, feelings of worthlessness, identity concerns, family communication problems and an inability to cope with emotions. An eating disorder may be an expression of something the individual has found no other way of expressing.

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder that involves repeated binge eating followed by purging. Purging takes the form of self-induced vomiting, or the use of laxatives, diet pills or diuretics. This is not only harmful to one's overall health, but also is particularly destructive to the teeth. When vomiting is employed to purge food from the body, the strong digestive system acids coat the teeth and attack tooth enamel. Repeated vomiting leads to the continued exposure of the teeth to these acids. This severely erodes tooth enamel. As a result the teeth become worn and abraded, overly sensitive, thinner and weaker. The throat, mouth, and salivary glands may become swollen and tender and bad breath (halitosis) may result.

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by the intense desire to be thinner, and the fear of gaining weight. It involves a severe aversion to eating; a self-induced starvation. Individuals are unable to maintain minimally normal weight for their height and age.

Both of these disorders rob the body of adequate minerals, vitamins, proteins, and nutrients required for proper health, leading to potential injury of the teeth, muscles and major organs.

If you have any questions regarding eating disorders and your oral health, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you.


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Everyone at the practice is super friendly, starting from the front desk to Dr. Mahlin. I normally get the first appointment in the morning and I have never had to wait. I have been going to them for probably 20 years and have never had an issue that isn't promptly resolved. Last time I had my crown done, Dr. Mahlin even gave me his mobile number in case of an issue. I'll definitely recommend them.

Sanjiv Bhatia

Dr. Mahlin and his staff are absolutely wonderful! His bedside manner is among the best, if not the best, when it comes to compassionate, patient-centered care. He even called me after I had a new crown placed just to see how I was doing. He's thoughtful, gentle (both as a person and as a dentist), and most importantly is excellent at dentistry! His staff couldn't be friendlier or more accomodating and I have never had a long wait in the waiting room. I would give him 10 stars if this rating scale allowed it!

Gregory Polites

Kim, my hygienist, is the best, she has a passion for insuring she does her best to ensure patient comfort and that I will leave with the cleanest teeth and gums as well as a plan for addressing potential issues! Dr. Mahlin is very professional in his final inspection and verification of any of Kim's findings while performing the cleaning. An added bonus that Dr. Mahlin provides is a follow up call in the evening to ensure that your experience that day for treatment has gone as expected and there aren't any abnormalities. Very Caring person!

John Helbing

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Scott Mahlin, DDS, FAGD, FICOI and Clarkson Dental Group, serving West St. Louis County area in Chesterfield, MO Disclaimer: This website is provided for information and education purposes only.  No doctor/patient relationship is established by your use of this website.  No dentistry diagnosis or treatment is being provided.  The information contained here should be used in consultation with a dentist of your choice.  No guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within the website.  This website is not intended to offer specific medical or dental advice to anyone.  Further, this web site and Dr. Scott Mahlin, DDS, FAGD, FICOI take no responsibility for web sites hyperlinked to this site and such hyperlinking does not imply any relationships or endorsements. Please contact us with any concerns.


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