Bulimia Can't Hide From This Dentist
Bulimics are notorious for hiding their disease. Princess Diana, a victim of the disease said, "...it's like a secret disease. You inflict it upon yourself..." Hiding the signs becomes a way of life, until the bulimic goes to the dentist that is.
"The mouth is like an open book, the signals that something is wrong are everywhere - swollen salivary glands, stomach-acid etched teeth," says dentist Dr. Brian McKay, author of the new book, "Bulimia Is a Dental Disease." Left untreated the result is tooth and bone loss, abscesses, gum disease and the real threat of heart damage as studies have shown the direct link between oral and heart health.
"These are more than just dental patients, they are real people in pain suffering from mental illness that manifests itself through bulimic purging behavior," says McKay. The book, the first that links dental disease and bulimia, explores the psychological causes of bulimia and purging disorder, offering an innovative non-judgmental solution that releases the smile within these victims allowing them to achieve peace.
"26% of all bulimia is first diagnosed by a dentist," says McKay, citing a study by the Institute of Dental Research. Using examples from his own practice, McKay illustrates how a victim struggles and how dentists everywhere can lead the charge to treat these victims before it is too late. "Denial and secrecy are hallmarks of the disorder, there can be no denial or secrecy when a qualified dentist exams the patient's mouth."
"We need a change in the Standard of Care," says McKay. "Dentists must form alliances with eating disorder professionals. Together we can treat both the mental and oral aspects of this disease and the result should be a higher success rate. There is nothing more inviting than seeing someone smile again."