Article: Volume 14 Number 3 Page 156 - July 2021

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  Orth Update 2021; 14: 156-160

Orthodontics:  A Review of the Eating Disorders Literature with Reference to Dentistry

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Abstract: Eating disorders are severe psychiatric illnesses associated with physical and psychological morbidity and mortality. In the UK, around 1 in 9 people are directly affected. Oral healthcare professionals may be among the first to observe the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder because of the recognizable and consistent links with oral pathology and it is important that they are sufficiently informed about the condition, and feel confident in raising it with patients and/or their families.

Clinical relevance: Oral healthcare professionals may be among the first to suspect that a patient has an eating disorder: they can play a role in diagnosis and appropriate referral, as well as providing appropriate oral healthcare advice.

Author notes: Andrea Waylen, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Bristol Dental School, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS1 2LY. Email:

Objective: The reader should gain an understanding of the symptoms of eating disorders that may manifest internally and externally to the oral cavity and mucosa because dentists may be among the first to suspect the presence of an eating disorder in an individual.