Woman with Eating Disorder

Bulimia Symptoms & Resources

If you recognize symptoms of bulimia in yourself or someone in your family, you share something with over 500,000 other people.

Do You:

  • Worry about how much you eat—all the time?
  • Start a new diet almost every day?
  • Perceive everyone else as thinner than you are?
  • Make time in the day to eat in solitude—ice cream, doughnuts, pies, cakes, soft drinks—then vomit or take laxatives?

Eating disorders have become so common in this weight-obsessed nation that we’ve been forced to face the facts. Too many young people—and some not so young—are caught up in a cycle of binge eating, then purging, to physically attain some wacky cultural ideal.

“Thin is in.” “You can never be too rich or too thin.” While there may be nothing wrong with thinness, dieting to that end can become obsessive. That’s when your health starts to suffer.

The First Signs of Bulimia

Bulimia is hard to admit. Most victims feel out of control—they want to stop, and can’t. But because bulimia shows in your mouth, your dentist may well be aware of your situation.

Here’s what we see in someone addicted to binge-and-purge cycles.

  • Enamel loss on the insides of upper front teeth from daily exposure to stomach acids
  • “Moth-eaten” edges of front teeth
  • Heightened sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Erosion has thinned the tooth enamel so nerves are sensitive
  • Low salivary pH—acidic saliva chemical erosion of enamel around fillings
  • Swollen glands due to vitamin deficiency
  • Soft tissue damage

Bulimia won’t go away in a day. But there is immediate dental help at hand until you get eating patterns under control.

First of all, people who brush their teeth after purging may be making a mistake. Brushing in an acid environment will only embed more acid in tooth enamel. Sodium bicarbonate or simple water rinse may be safer.

Home fluoride treatments can also be prescribed to encourage remineralization of enamel. And there are de-sensitizers to help your teeth stand up to heat and cold.

The reasons for bulimia are many… but can be resolved over time. The important thing: there is help available.

Help for Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders
P.O. Box 5102
Eugene, OR 97405

Bulimia/Anorexia Self-Help (BASH)
6125 Claytone Avenue – Suite 215
St. Louis, MO 63139

Center for the Study of Anorexia & Bulimia
1 West 91st Street
New York, NY 10024

National Anorexic Aid Society
1925 East Dublin-Granville Road
Columbus, OH 43229