Eating disorders: dental implications

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002 Feb;93(2):138-43. doi: 10.1067/moe.2002.116598.


This article presents updated information on the 2 major eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Both conditions are found primarily in women. The eating disorders have significant morbidity and mortality associated with them. Patients are vulnerable to sudden death from cardiac arrhythmias. Suicide is a concern in some patients. The etiology of the eating disorders is unknown, but genetic, cultural, and psychiatric factors appear to play a role. Medical management may involve hospitalization to stabilize the patient, behavior modification, drugs, and psychotherapy. The long-term outcome of treatment is unclear at this time. The role of the dentist as a "case finder" is discussed. Also, the role of the dentist in restoring the dental and oral tissues to a healthy state in patients with eating disorders is presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa* / complications
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / epidemiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / etiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / therapy
  • Bulimia* / complications
  • Bulimia* / epidemiology
  • Bulimia* / etiology
  • Bulimia* / therapy
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Salivary Gland Diseases / etiology
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology*
  • Tooth Erosion / therapy