Every now and then, most people experience heartburn and the discomfort associated with acid reflux. However, if it becomes a regular occurrence, your oral health may be compromised. This article will provide you with all the information you need about acid reflux and its devastating effects on your teeth.
An Overview of Acid Reflux
During digestion, the stomach produces acids to break down and digest food. These acids work their way up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux. This results in a burning, painful sensation in the chest. Additionally, patients may experience excessive burping, bad breath, an acidic taste in their mouth, difficulty swallowing, and tooth sensitivity.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a condition characterized by frequent acid reflux episodes. Sadly, constant exposure to stomach acids can cause extensive damage to your oral health.
What are the effects of acid reflux on your oral health?
Similarly to acidic foods and beverages, stomach acids can erode or wear your tooth enamel, leaving you with yellow, pitted, and sensitive teeth. When your teeth are repeatedly exposed to stomach acids, they can suffer extensive, irreversible damage. Additionally, the acids can irritate your gums, leading to gum disease, the primary cause of adult tooth loss.
Your oral health is not the only thing at risk from acid reflux. Your overall health can be negatively affected by it. Unlike the stomach, which has a lining that protects it from acids, the esophagus does not. It can be damaged by acid reflux, resulting in extreme pain and difficulty swallowing.
What Are the Best Ways to Protect Your Teeth?
GERD treatment options can be discussed with your primary care physician or gastroenterologist. Medications are available that will alleviate your symptoms and protect your oral and overall health.
In addition to preventing acid reflux, you can minimize the damage to your smile.
- You should limit fatty treats or foods that trigger your heartburn.
- After eating, rinse your mouth with water.
- Acidic foods and beverages should be avoided.
- After eating or drinking something acidic, wait an hour before brushing your teeth.
- After a meal, do not lie down.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water.
- Use fluoride toothpaste on a regular basis.
How Often Should You Seek Professional Dental Care?
Dental visits should be scheduled every six months for everyone, but they are even more crucial for acid reflux patients. Our dentist in Durham will keep a close eye on your oral health to treat any problems as they arise.
Dental bonding or dental crowns may be recommended if your tooth enamel has been extensively damaged by acid erosion. These procedures reduce tooth sensitivity and prevent further damage. To save a tooth and alleviate tooth sensitivity, we may recommend root canal therapy in certain cases.
Contact our Durham NC dentist to learn more about safeguarding your smile from the effects of acid reflux. Keeping your smile healthy for years to come is our goal by providing you with outstanding care and service. Get in touch with Park Place Dental of Durham today to schedule an appointment!