Eating Disorders and Oral Health

Eating disorders affect nearly 25 million Americans. The effects are fatal for one third of those who struggle, and an additional one third never fully recover. Fortunately, one of the first lines of defense is the dental chair. This page includes resources for those in the oral health field.

EDCT Article

Read EDCT's article, "First Line of Defense: The Dentist's Role in Identifying Eating Disorders," in Chairside Essentials (published quarterly by Nashville Dental, Inc.) Many thanks to EDCT Board members David Dickerson, DDS, and Ryan Torti, DDS, for their research and insight in writing this article.

Online Resources

American Dental Association: Dentist Version
Information on the symptoms, prevention and treatment of eating disorders. 

American Dental Association: Patient Version
Similar to the dentist version above but presented to patients.

What to Say, What to Expect
Due to the shame and stigma that often surround an eating disorder diagnosis -- as well as the cultural acceptance of disordered eating, the ‘thin ideal’ and elimination diets -- people often delay getting help or vehemently deny they need it. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) suggests these guidelines for dental professionals.

Print Sources

McKay, Brian. Bulimia is a Dental Disease (2008, Xlibris).

Newman, Elizabeth. “The Secret Inside: Treating Patients with Eating Disorders” AGD Impact (October 2010).