A Parent’s Guide to Children with Eating Disorders

A young girl smiling at the camera while sitting with her dentist and his assistant - portrait

While it’s common for kids to be picky eaters, this becomes cause for concern when it goes beyond a preference and develops into a pediatric eating disorder. Discover what you need to know to detect and prevent the problem.

The Two Most Prevalent Pediatric Eating Disorders

Over the last few decades, the issue of children with eating disorders has become alarmingly common. Yet few parents understand these frightening food disorders. The two primary eating disorders that affect children are anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an extreme fear of becoming overweight, along with substantial weight loss, refusal to maintain a normal weight, body image distortion, and the disruption of the menstrual cycle, which is known as amenorrhea. The other main eating disorder is bulimia nervosa. This is an eating disorder where sufferers binge eat huge amounts of food and then eliminate it to prevent weight gain through disturbing methods like self-induced vomiting or laxatives. Anorexia affects 1 percent of children, while bulimia is seen in 2 to 3 percent of children with eating disorders. And more than 40 percent of anorexic children also have bulimia. Both are more common in teens than adults, especially in girls.

Anorexia Nervosa and Teeth

Parents often focus on how these conditions harm a child’s medical health, but few ever think about their dental health. When it comes to anorexia nervosa and teeth, the most common concerns are:

  • Increased risk of tooth decay due to sufferers sustaining themselves on sugar-filled candy or drinks, rather than food
  • Greater chance of gum disease
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loss of dental bone from osteoporosis
  • Dry mouth, which can cause plaque to build up on teeth and cause decay

Bulimia Nervosa and Teeth

Bulimia nervosa can also harm a child’s dental health. The main concerns about bulimia nervosa and teeth include:

  • Tooth sensitivity caused by severe tooth erosion from vomiting
  • High risk of tooth decay since many kids binge on sweetened candy or sugary beverages
  • Oral lesions from exposure to stomach acid or trauma to induce vomiting
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dry mouth, which facilitates plaque development, tooth decay, and gum disease
  • Altered sense of taste

Tips for Treatment and Prevention

Parents often feel helpless when it comes to protecting the health of a child struggling with a pediatric eating disorder. Fortunately, there are things they can do to prevent these eating disorders from doing irreparable dental damage:

  • Regularly check your child’s teeth for signs of erosion, as well as their mouths for lesions.
  • Ask your pediatric dentist about fluoride treatment to increase tooth enamel development.
  • Postpone any restorative dental procedures until after the child’s condition has been treated.
  • Encourage the child to wait an hour after vomiting before brushing to protect sensitive tooth enamel, as well as to rinse with water immediately afterwards to reduce enamel erosion.
  • Prevent dry mouth by making sure the child chews sugarless gum regularly to maintain saliva flow.
  • Keep the pediatric dentist aware of the child’s progress, so they can be sensitive to the child’s needs.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Atlanta, call Imagix Dental today or make an appointment.

Imagix Dental and its affiliated practices offer affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Atlanta. Our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. Our practices provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable dentists who truly care.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
Very experienced, knowledgable, & fast. My last experience with a dentist was horrific so I’m excited to have a new dentist that is honest and not money hungry.
Tasiona X.
Friendly and fast!
Bridgette B.
Great customer service, professional staff, & always leave feeling like my teeth sparkle like a cartoon character. Plus, they have a warm, inviting environment. Two thumbs up, A++, all around […]
Joe B.
I was very satisfied with staff and service.
Shirley L.
Courtesy and friendliness
Bruce C.
I had a veneer which was put on years ago detach during a surgical procedure. I showed up without an appointment and within 5 minutes of arriving was in the chair and Dr. Brian Lee was reattaching […]
Jim B.
Everyone at the office is so helpful and professional and pleasant. The dental care is excellent and I feel I am in good hands.
Mary F.
I love this Imagix location. Karen (hygienist) and Peter (assistant) did an amazing job. I have a lot of sensitivity and she was able to make the cleaning process easy and painless. By far, Karen is […]
Je R.
The front office staff, assistants and Dr. Larsen are all very caring.
Spencer F.
The doctor was very nice. The staff was friendly.
Rita P.
I have a fear of the dentist. Even a cleaning was mentally stressful. Thankfully I found Imagix who put me at ease. They are super nice, Explain everything and actually get me to laugh. I highly […]
Paula N.
Enjoyed my visit. Staff was very friendly!
Amy G.
Wonderful staff. Great visit overall for my cleaning but did not get a customary goody-bag before leaving. Yikes!
Raymond H.
After searching for an Ortho near my home. I was so pleased to be referred to Imagnix in Alpharetta. Dr Fleming is an incredible orthodontist. Their service and attention to detail is second to none. […]
Mowbray R.
I just moved to the area and had a great experience here. Everyone was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. From someone who typically doesn’t enjoy visits to the dentist, this was about as […]
Erika J.
The staff are very kid-friendly and persistent! My daughter loves to come here and this will forever be here dental office!
Darius M.
Caring professional employees!
Sylvia B.
From time I walked in, everyone I met was super nice and treated me like a VIP. No pain and was a very quick process
Michael F.
This was my 1st experience with Dr. Butler. She was very professional and helpful. . Her assistant Tina Taylor was friendly and made my visit a wonderful experience. I highly recommend them to […]
Anne L.
You keep appointment timing n make kids very comfortable. Staffs are caring n efficient too.
Aarav C.
We Accept Most Insurance Plans!
Learn More

We accept most insurance plans and will be happy to help you understand the coverage that you have. We will do our best to see that you receive your maximum insurance benefits for all covered services.

No Insurance? No Worries! See our discounts and offers here