Most people have had a brush with acid reflux or heartburn, whether it’s from a favorite pizza or a loaded, juicy burger. If, however, you’ve been experiencing heartburn regularly, you may be at risk of a host of serious complications. Here’s a look at acid reflux and the threat it poses to your oral health.
Our stomachs produce acids that aid in food breakdown and digestion. Acid reflux occurs when these acids make their way through the esophagus and into the mouth, with undesirable effects, including a burning sensation in the chest. Patients also report a sour taste in the mouth, excessive burping, or even a sore throat. If acid reflux happens frequently, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Unfortunately, this condition can cause extensive damage to your teeth and overall health.
When stomach acids reach your mouth, they can erode or wear away the enamel, leaving your teeth pitted, yellow and sensitive. If not treated early on, acid reflux can cause extensive damage to your teeth. Moreover, the acids can irritate the gums, resulting in gum disease and bone loss. Acid reflux can also damage your esophagus, leading to extreme difficulty swallowing.
It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to treat the condition and minimize its harmful effects on your mouth and your overall health. Try to limit fatty foods or foods you know trigger your heartburn and avoid laying down after a meal. Swishing your mouth with water after eating will help lower the risk of damage to your teeth.
One thing you can do to combat the effects of acid reflux is to stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize the acids. You can do that by drinking plenty of water and chewing sugar-free gum containing xylitol. Another way to protect your tooth enamel is to brush regularly using fluoride toothpaste. Our team at Dental Care of North Carolina may recommend topical solutions or rinses with higher fluoride concentrations to help strengthen your tooth enamel.
Everyone needs regular dental care, but that’s especially important for patients with acid reflux. Our team will monitor your oral health and make sure to address any problems with your gums and teeth as they arise. If your tooth enamel has suffered irreparable damage from acid erosion, we may recommend root canal therapy, dental bonding, or dental crowns to treat your tooth sensitivity, restore your teeth, and prevent further damage to your tooth enamel.
Visiting Dental Care of North Carolina for your routine dental exams and cleanings will ensure that any dental problems resulting from acid reflux are treated early on, preventing extensive damage to your teeth and gums. Our team is here to ensure you enjoy a healthy smile for a lifetime. Call us and schedule your appointment today!