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News / February 13, 2014

Dental braces spur on anorexia

by Guy Hiscott

A study of anorexia in Ireland has shown a link between orthodontic treatment and weight loss in children.

The research believes the ‘food restricting’ diet that accompanies orthodontic treatment could be the reasons behind the weight loss, as eating can become painful while wearing dental braces.

Out of 20 patients involved in the study, five had been vomiting and another 13 were reported to be over-exercising.

The report added: ‘Oral pain must be considered in cases of unintentional weight loss, which could later precipitate disordered eating. Sometimes dental professionals may discourage certain foods if they interfere with treatment, which the “perfectionist” child may over-interpret.

‘Future research should explore the relationship of orthodontics to weight loss,’ the researchers concluded.

The study found a number of patients had begun orthodontic treatment prior to the onset of anorexia.

The study also discovered that anorexia is becoming more common in males and is beginning at a younger age.

The report was recently published in Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), examining patients in Temple Street Children’s Hospital between 2005 and 2011.

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