The eating disorder bulimia is dangerous to overall health, and especially harmful to the teeth. While both girls and boys can suffer from this condition, it’s much more common in girls. How can a parent tell the difference between typical adolescent concern about looks and the fixation with weight that marks bulimia?
Teens with bulimia generally go on eating splurges, called binges, then try to avoid gaining weight by purging with laxatives or throwing up. They also may exercise obsessively. Other warning signs could include:
Rough skin on the fingers or knuckles from inducing vomiting
Swollen cheeks or jawline
Front teeth that look clear at their edges or are worn from stomach acid
Irregular menstrual periods in girls
Using diuretics or water pills
An unusual preoccupation with calorie counting
Intense fear of gaining weight
Frequent use of the bathroom after meals
If you suspect your teen has bulimia, contact your child's health care provider for advice.
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