For the past 2 years I’ve been vomiting after meals and I’m wondering if it’s affecting my teeth and if I need crowns or veneers to protect them. My doctors can’t figure out why this is happening. I’ve had all kinds of gastrointestinal tests but nothing is showing up. It doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen at least twice a week, and sometimes more often. I’m not bulimic. I was so concerned that this might be caused by an eating disorder that I went to a psychiatrist. I don’t have any issues with my weight or anything that is consciously causing me so much stress that I’m vomiting. Within the past month or so I noticed that my teeth feel sensitive to hot and cold. Also my left canine tooth is chipped. Is this coming from the vomiting? I already don’t know what’s causing my stomach problems and now I have to worry about dental care and the cost of veneers or dental crowns. Can anything stop the damage? Thanks. April
April – We regret to hear about the issues you’re having with your stomach and how your teeth are being affected. It’s good that you are seeking medical care and trying to find the cause of the problem. Vomiting from bulimia does affect the teeth, as well as the esophagus—but so does persistent vomiting for any reason.
In a short amount of time, if your teeth are repeatedly exposed to stomach acid, they can be damaged. Porcelain veneers only cover the front of your teeth and won’t protect them from the acid. Although dental crowns can help, they might not be necessary. Consider the factors.
How Persistent Vomiting Affects Your Teeth
- Stomach acid wears away tooth enamel.
- Damaged tooth enamel fails to be a protective layer and barrier from decay.
- Repeated exposure to acid will wear away your teeth and expose tooth nerves, creating sensitivity.
- Weak teeth can chip or crack easily, and become thin or translucent.
- Over-exposure to stomach acid will also affect your gums and promote gum disease.
What You Can Do
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day to control the amount of acid in your mouth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after vomiting. It’s good to keep a bottle of water with you.
- Avoid brushing your teeth right after vomiting. If you brush your teeth right after they are exposed to acid, the abrasion will weaken them further.
- Use fluoride toothpaste or toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups. He or she might recommend prescription-strength fluoride. Your dentist will also monitor the damage to your teeth and determine if any of them need to be protected with dental crowns.
- Continue to seek medical care and get a second or third opinion. Eventually, you will find the right gastroenterologist or another specialist to help.
This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist and board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.