Eating disorders and oral health: a matched case-control study

Eur J Oral Sci. 2012 Feb;120(1):61-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.2011.00922.x. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


The aim was to compare the oral health status of patients with eating disorders (EDs), with sex- and age-matched controls, with a view to identify self-reported and clinical parameters that might alert the dental healthcare professional to the possibility of EDs. All patients who entered outpatient treatment in an ED clinic during a 12-month period were invited to participate. Of 65 ED patients who started psychiatric/medical treatment, 54 agreed to participate. Eating disorder patients and controls answered a questionnaire and underwent dental clinical examinations. Multivariate analysis identified significantly higher ORs for ED patients to present dental problems (OR = 4.1), burning tongue (OR = 14.2), dry/cracked lips (OR = 9.6), dental erosion (OR = 8.5), and less gingival bleeding (OR = 1.1) compared with healthy controls. Sensitivity and specificity for the correct classification of ED patients and controls using the five variables was 83% and 79%, respectively. The ED patients with vomiting/binge eating behaviors reported worse perceived oral health (OR = 6.0) and had more dental erosion (OR = 5.5) than those without such behavior. In ED patients with longer duration of the disease, dental erosion was significantly more common. In conclusion, oral health problems frequently affect ED patients, and this needs to be considered in patient assessment and treatment decisions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Bulimia Nervosa / classification
  • Bulimia Nervosa / complications
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / classification
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications*
  • Female
  • Gingival Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Lip Diseases / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health*
  • Periodontal Index
  • Radiography, Bitewing
  • Self Report
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tongue Diseases / etiology
  • Tongue Habits
  • Tooth Erosion / classification
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology
  • Xerostomia / etiology
  • Young Adult