An eating disorder may cause lingering or even permanent damage to the teeth and mouth. Early detection of eating disorders may ensure a smoother and more successful recovery period for the body and the teeth. Damage to the teeth and mouth can be tempered by arming yourself with the right information and receiving appropriate guidance from your oral health professional.
Please find below a guest post by Wendy Dessler on ‘Tips for Choosing the Best Dental Health Insurance for You and for Your Family in 2020’. We share this post in order to share information and we hope you’ll benefit from this post. Eating Disorders have a horrible impact on dental health. Please take care of your dental health.
- Without the proper nutrition, gums and other soft tissue inside your mouth may bleed easily. The glands that produce saliva may swell. Individuals may experience chronic dry mouth.
- Food restriction often leads to nutritional deficiency. Nutrients that promote oral health include calcium, iron and B vitamins. Insufficient calcium promotes tooth decay and gum disease; even if an anorexia patient does consume enough calcium, they also need enough vitamin D to help the body absorb it. Insufficient iron can foster the development of sores inside the mouth. Insufficient amounts of vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) can contribute to bad breath and the development of canker sores. Gums can become red and swollen—almost glossy-looking—which is often a sign of gingivitis. The mouth can also be extremely dry, due to dehydration, and lips may become reddened, dry and cracked.
- Frequent vomiting leads to strong stomach acid repeatedly flowing over the teeth. The tooth’s outer covering (enamel) can be lost and teeth can change in color, shape and length, becoming brittle, translucent and weak. Eating hot or cold food or drink may become uncomfortable. Tissue loss and erosive lesions on the surface of the mouth may occur. The edges of teeth often become thin and break off easily. In extreme cases the pulp can be exposed and cause infection, discoloration or even pulp death. Tooth decay can actually be aggravated by extensive tooth brushing or rinsing following vomiting.
- Degenerative arthritis within the temporomandibular joint in the jaw is a dental complication often associated with eating disorders. This joint is found where the lower jaw hinges to the skull. When arthritis begins in this joint it may create pain in the joint area, chronic headaches and problems chewing and opening/closing the mouth.
- Purging can lead to redness, scratches and cuts inside the mouth, especially on the upper surface commonly referred to as the ‘soft palate.’ Such damage is a warning sign for dental professionals, because healthy daily behaviors rarely cause harm to this area. Soft palate damage is often accompanied by cuts or bruises on the knuckles as a result of an individual’s teeth placing pressure on the skin while attempting to purge.
- A frequent binge-and-purge cycle can cause an enlargement of the salivary glands. Enlarged glands can be painful and are often visible to others, which can lead to emotional distress.
TREATMENT OF THE ORAL HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF EATING DISORDERS
- Encourage your patient to maintain meticulous oral health care related to tooth brushing and flossing, as well as frequent and appropriate communication and examination by your dentist. A confidential relationship should always be maintained between the dentist and patient, and therefore, the patient should feel that the dental office is a “safe” place to disclose their ED struggles and progress towards recovery.
- Individuals in treatment may still engage in purging behaviors, and should be honest with their treatment team about these behaviors. To maintain oral care while curbing these behaviors, after purging patients should immediately rinse their mouth with water or use a sugar-free mouth rinse. Patients should swish only water around their mouth due to the high acidic content in the oral cavity. It has also been recommended that brushing be halted for an hour to avoid actually scrubbing the stomach acids deeper into the tooth enamel.
- A dry mouth, or xerostomia, may result from vomiting and/or poor overall nutrition. Xerostomia will also frequently lead to tooth decay. Moisturizing the mouth with water, or other specified products, will help keep recurrent decay at a minimum.
- Fluoride rinses may be prescribed as well as desensitizing or re-mineralizing agents.
Source: NEDA FeedingHope
Dental health is vital to your well being. The problem is that dental care doesn’t come cheap.
Fortunately, there are dental plans widely available that substantially reduce the cost of oral care. As with health insurance, these can significantly vary from one another.
The design of your policy has a significant effect on out-of-pocket expenses and coverage.
A thorough understanding of dental health insurance is vital in choosing the plan that best suits your family’s needs.
Most Common Dental Insurance Plan Designs
Although a variety of dental insurance is available, and individual features may vary, most commonly, these plans fall under one of four categories. These are:
- Direct reimbursement programs – You are reimbursed with a predetermined percentage of the total cost spent on dental care. This plan is not restricted by the category of treatment, allowing you the freedom to choose your dentist. It also creates an incentive to seek cost-effective options.
- UCR (usual, customary, and reasonable) programs – You have the freedom to use the dentist of your choice. These plans pay either the customary fee or a percentage of the cost, whichever is the lowest of the two. Customary fees are not necessarily the same as fees charged by the specialist.
- Table or schedule of allowance programs – These plans only cover predetermined dental procedures. This kind of insurance only pays a certain amount of the cost incurred. You as the patient are responsible for settling the difference
- Capitation programs – This form of insurance pays a fixed amount to contracted dentists per enrolled member. This payment is typically a retainer fee, occurring monthly. This then covers pre-arranged types of treatment with no charge to the patient.
Evaluate your needs to determine which type of program will best suit your situation.
Dental Insurance – What You Should Know
Dental insurance administrators often require a treatment proposal plan to be submitted. This will then be evaluated by them to determine the following:
- Your eligibility period
- Treatment options
- Copayment percentage or amount
- Which procedures are covered
- Benefits limitations
In instances where the treatment exceeds a certain amount, you’ll be required to obtain pre-authorization from your insurance provider.
In general, annual benefits limitations are predetermined to contain costs. This can be done by limiting the yearly dollar amount or the number of procedures. With regular preventative care, this works out to be adequate coverage.
By taking these limitations into account, you can minimize personal expenses and optimize scheme compensation by planning treatments with your doctor.
Dental insurance schemes often provide a peer review mechanism. This is aimed at resolving disputes between patients, dentists, and third parties to avoid lawsuits. It ensures results, individual case consideration, thorough records examination, and fairness. It typically ends in a satisfactory resolution for all parties concerned.
What to Consider While Selecting a Dental Plan
To ensure that you fulfill your oral care needs, you need to consider the following:
- Are you free to choose your dentist, or do you have to use one that forms part of your insurance’s network of doctors?
- Is your dentist required to perform the least expensive alternative treatment, or do you and they control treatment decisions?
- To what extent, if any, does the plan cover preventative, emergency, and diagnostic services?
- When it comes to routine treatment, what is covered, and how much is your copayment?
- Does the plan cover major dental care, and how much of the cost are you responsible for covering?
- Which procedures are not covered by the insurance?
- What are your annual limitations?
- Does the plan include dental specialists, and do you have the freedom to choose that person?
- Can you schedule dentist appointments when needed?
- Who is covered by the insurance?
- When does your dental coverage become active?
Your dental plan and its coverage are predetermined. Contact your insurance provider if you have any queries.
Reducing Dental Care Expenses by Maintaining Oral Hygiene
Through practicing proper oral hygiene, you minimize your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. This lowered risk results in less work for the dentist. Below are a couple of tips to help you maintain correct mouth hygiene:
- Brush your teeth two to three times per day
- Floss regularly
- Control your sugar intake
- Follow a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Hydrate regularly
- Use mouthwash
- Don’t use your teeth for anything other than eating (i.e., opening bottles, etc.)
- Change your toothbrush every two to three months
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup
- Obtain reliable dental care
You only get one set of teeth, and they must last you a lifetime. It’s worth taking care of your teeth, and a reliable dental plan allows you to do this.