Background: In individuals suffering from eating disorders (ED) characterized by vomiting (e.g. bulimia nervosa), the gastric juice regularly reaches the oral cavity, causing a possible risk of dental erosion. This study aimed to assess the occurrence, distribution and severity of dental erosions in a group of Norwegian patients experiencing self-induced vomiting (SIV).
Methods: The individuals included in the study were all undergoing treatment at clinics for eating disorders and were referred to a university dental clinic for examinations. One calibrated clinician registered erosions using the Visual Erosion Dental Examination (VEDE) system.
Results: Of 72 referred patients, 66 (63 females and three males, mean age 27.7 years) were or had been experiencing SIV (mean duration 10.6 years; range: 3 - 32 years), and were therefore included in the study. Dental erosions were found in 46 individuals (69.7%), 19 had enamel lesions only, while 27 had both enamel and dentine lesions. Ten or more teeth were affected in 26.1% of those with erosions, and 9% had ≥10 teeth with dentine lesions. Of the erosions, 41.6% were found on palatal/lingual surfaces, 36.6% on occlusal surfaces and 21.8% on buccal surfaces. Dentine lesions were most often found on lower first molars, while upper central incisors showed enamel lesions most frequently. The majority of the erosive lesions (48.6%) were found in those with the longest illness period, and 71.7% of the lesions extending into dentine were also found in this group. However, despite suffering from SIV for up to 32 years, 30.3% of the individuals showed no lesions.
Conclusions: Dental erosion commonly affects individuals with ED experiencing SIV, and is more often found on the palatal/lingual surfaces than on the buccal in these individuals, confirming a common clinical assumption.