A middle aged woman has told how she has been left toothless following a gastric bypass.
Alice Ballinger, 39, from Malton, North Yorkshire, was prompted to undergo weight loss surgery by her GP as she weighed 22st 4lbs.
The former data analyst health rapidly declined after her stomach was divided into a smaller pouch.
She dropped 13st in 11 months – something she was initially ecstatic about – until her teeth began to fall out.
Despite never before having a filling, Alice’s teeth crumbled and slowly began to fall out – she had her final 11 teeth removed in September.
Alice Ballinger, 39, from Malton, North Yorks, has told how she has been left toothless following a gastric bypass. Pictured, she dropped from size 26 to size 8 in 12 months after gastric band
Alice was prompted to undergo weight loss surgery by her GP as she weighed 22st 4lbs. Pictured, her teeth crumbled and deteriorated after getting a gastric bypass in 2010
Alice, who is now sharing her story to raise awareness of bariatric side effects, had the remaining 11 teeth pulled out in August (pictured)
After speaking to her dentist Alice was shocked to find out that weight loss surgery can be linked to tooth decay, something she’s confident caused hers.
Alice is now sharing her story to raise awareness of bariatric side effects.
‘I wasn’t told about the side effects of a gastric bypass – it all sounded so great,’ she explained. ‘I dropped from a size 26 to 8 within 11 months – I was finally thin!
‘I thought my life would be all sunshine and roses but it is the complete opposite. The bypass completely destroyed my body as my muscles began to wear away.
Alice was prompted to undergo weight loss surgery by her GP as she weighed 22st 4lbs (pictured)
Dentists were initially baffled as Alice had never even had a filling before. Pictured, she lost 13 stone in 11 months after the band
Alice said that it’s ‘horrible’ without teeth but she tries to stay positive. Pictured, Alice’s teeth in 2011
After speaking to her dentist Alice was shocked to find out that weight loss surgery can be linked to tooth decay, something she’s confident caused hers. Pictured, Alice’s gums
‘My hair was falling out and my straight, white teeth started to crumble.’
Pieces of Alice’s teeth began falling out – two years after the bypass in 2012.
HOW CAN ACID REFLUX CAUSE TOOTH DECAY?
GERD, commonly called acid reflux, is caused when the esophageal sphincter, which separates the stomach from the esophagus, allows acid to seep out of the stomach.
Many times this acid causes symptoms of heartburn, but not always. Sometimes the first indication that a person may have GERD is the erosion of the enamel on the molars or on the backside of teeth.
Stomach acid eats away at the enamel on your teeth.
A pattern of enamel loss on the back teeth can indicate to your dentist that you have GERD.
Dentists were initially baffled as she had never even had a filling before. She had 76 fillings and four extractions before having teeth removed in 2017.
One dentist suggested the tooth decay could be a result of the bariatric surgery.
Despite using medicated toothpaste and avoiding sugary foods, the non-smokers teeth continued to deteriorate.
‘My teeth were breaking and then getting infected,’ she explained. ‘I was so shocked and confused. I was eating a goat cheese panini and half of my wisdom tooth fell out in 2012. Followed by my other three wisdom teeth which were removed immediately.
‘My teeth kept rotting regardless of how many times I brushed them. I’d wake up in the morning and spit parts of a tooth out.
‘I had massive holes in my teeth and was prone to abscesses. The dentist was baffled as my teeth were going down hill really fast!’
A side effect of a gastric bypass is acid reflux which can result in tooth decay. She suffered with reflux for some time and recalls ‘choking during the night and gasping for air’.
In 2015, Alice was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – a condition that causes very flexible joints and stretchy and fragile skin.
‘The bypass sped up all the symptoms of EDS,’ she explained. ‘It disabled me more than the condition as I rapidly lost weight and then my muscles began to disappear.
‘My joints were so weak and even getting out of the bath would cause my hip to dislocate. It is brutal. I’ve been taking liquid morphine for to ease the pain which has a high sugar content.’
Pieces of Alice’s teeth began falling out – two years after the bypass in 2012. Pictured, Alive lost her front tooth in 2018
Despite using medicated toothpaste and avoiding sugary foods, the non-smokers teeth continued to deteriorate. Pictured, Alice cannot close her mouth wearing top and bottom dentures
A side effect of a gastric bypass is acid reflux which can result in tooth decay. Pictured, Alice keeps her spirit high and pulls funny face
The definite cause of her tooth loss is unknown but Alice blames the bypass. She had all of her teeth removed in September 2020.
Alice is approaching 40 and says people treat her as if she is double her age.
‘I used to be really cheesy and smile all the time but now I can’t,’ she added. ‘I’ve been given some dentures on the NHS but they are far too big. Everything to do with dentures is aimed at the elderly.
‘Friends have sent me GIFs of old women with their teeth falling out which is really hurtful. I don’t want adult tooth loss to be stigmatised.
‘There is more to life than shiny teeth – I am still a decent human. It is horrible without them but I try and stay positive.
‘I wish I was told about the side effects of a bypass – I have warned other people against them. My dream is to one day get implants but they are so expensive.’
The former data analyst (pictured) said the bypass completely destroyed her body as her muscles began to wear away
The chair of the British Dental Association’s chair of hospital dentists, Peter Dyer, said: ‘Dentists are concerned that patients who have bariatric surgery are not given enough information about the potential for a rapid decline in their dental health.
‘The British Dental Association (BDA) is constantly attempting to raise awareness of how much oral health impacts upon the entire body.
‘Bariatric (or ‘gastric bypass’) surgery results in a smaller appetite: the stomach simply has less capacity
‘Patients are prone to suffer from gastric reflux or vomiting: the acid from this can wear away the enamel on the teeth.
‘The dental risks associated with bariatric surgery are clear, but they’re not inevitable. Patients need to be informed on the protective measures they can take – healthier dietary choices and good oral hygiene.’