How Acid Reflux Affects Dental Health
If you’re one of the millions of people who experience acid reflux, you know just how much this condition can impact your comfort and health. Also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, acid reflux causes the contents of your stomach to travel back up the esophagus and into the mouth, which causes a painful burning sensation.
What you may not realize is that GERD can also have a detrimental effect on your teeth. Like any acid, stomach acid is corrosive and can wear away the outer layer of enamel on your teeth. Once that happens, the enamel does not come back and dental interventions in the form of crowns or veneers may be required to protect and preserve your teeth.
What can I do to protect my teeth if I have acid reflux?
Your first line of defense is already right there in your mouth: your saliva. Saliva helps neutralize and wash away acid so it doesn’t have a chance to linger on your teeth. You can encourage a moist mouth by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. If that’s not enough, you may also wish to try Biotene or other artificial saliva substitutes. Dental cleanings as well as cosmetic dentistry treatments can help alleviate these problems while also improving the look of your smile.
Alongside staying hydrated, there are several other things you can do to stop enamel erosion from acid reflux.
Chew Xylitol-based gum.
This reduces acid in your mouth and has the added benefit of preventing cavities.
Wait a little while before brushing your teeth after experiencing acid reflux.
Brushing right away can just spread the acid around without neutralizing or eliminating it.
Brush with a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
This won’t stop enamel erosion but it will help reduce the pain and discomfort arising from teeth that have already been damaged by acid reflux.
Follow up your brushing with a fluoride rinse.
Fluoride will help neutralize the acid.
If you’re worried about tooth damage associated with acid reflux, the best thing to do is schedule a visit with your dentist to assess the potential damage and chart a course of action that will prevent more damage from occurring. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.