If you have bulimia nervosa, perhaps you’re wondering if this eating disorder might cause temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder), since forced vomiting may occur very frequently, sometimes multiple times a day.

First off, if you have bulimia nervosa, the least of your problems is the development of TMJ disorder. Nevertheless, it’s fair to wonder about this.

TMJ disorder is also known as TMD: temporomandibular disorder.

“Bulimia and anorexia do not cause TMD or protruding jaw,” says Dr. Haissam Dahan, DMD, MSc, PhD, lecturer at Harvard and McGill University and owner of Ottawa TMJ & Sleep Apnea Clinic.

Dr. Dahan continues, “However, people with bulimia or anorexia are more likely to develop TMD because they tend to suffer from depression or anxiety, and having depression and anxiety is a risk factor for developing TMD.

“In other words, someone who is depressed or anxious may later develop an eating disorder and/or TMD.”

Now that you know that there’s no need to worry about developing TMJ disorder or a painful jaw from your bulimia nervosa, you should ask your doctor about how dangerous this eating disorder is to the heart — in more ways than one!

Dr. Dahan is a general dentist with a focus on TMJ disorder, facial pain, snoring and sleep apnea management.