Dental anxiety and eating disorder

An upsetting case of a young girl from Cornwall who died of dehydration and starvation due to an eating disorder has been reported in the news.

She developed symptoms after her ‘milk teeth’ became loose. They were removed under general anaesthesia but she then refused to eat. The coroner has returned a ‘narrative verdict’ and criticised poor communication between health care agencies. The case seems to raise many more questions than it answers. In particular the causes of this eating disorder, whether there were other stresses or psychological illness and how such extreme cases should be managed.