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Aust Dent J. 2005 Mar;50(1):6-15; quiz 56.

Eating disorders and oral health: a review of the literature.

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School of Dentistry, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands.


This article is a review of the recent literature pertaining to the oral sequelae of eating disorders (EDs). Dentists are recognized as being some of the first health care professionals to whom a previously undiagnosed eating disorder patient (EDP) may present. However, despite the prevalence (up to 4 per cent) of such conditions in teenage girls and young adult females, there is relatively little published in the recent literature regarding the oral sequelae of EDs. This compares unfavourably with the attention given recently in the dental literature to conditions such as diabetes mellitus, which have a similar prevalence in the adult population. The incidence of EDs is increasing and it would be expected that dentists who treat patients in the affected age groups would encounter more individuals exhibiting EDs. Most of the reports in the literature concentrate on the obvious clinical features of dental destruction (perimolysis), parotid swelling and biochemical abnormalities particularly related to salivary and pancreatic amylase. However, there is no consistency in explanation of the oral phenomena and epiphenomena seen in EDs. Many EDPs are nutritionally challenged; there is a relative lack of information pertaining to non-dental, oral lesions associated with nutritional deficiencies.

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