Burning More Than Your Heart: How Acid Reflux Can Affect Your Oral Health

What is acid reflux?

Well… one thing it is is painful. Recent medical science has shown us that more than a third of otherwise healthy Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month, and 7 percent every day. Infants, children, and adults alike can be affected by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, or acid reflux), though its incidence rises sharply after the age of 40.

Life with acid reflux is as uncomfortable as it is, unfortunately, common.

Acid reflux occurs when digestive acids present in the stomach make their way back up into the esophagus, which then causes irritation and inflammation; the symptoms you may be familiar with include belching, heartburn, nausea, and difficulty swallowing, but what you may not know is that acid reflux can also have a significant negative impact on your oral health.

When stomach acid enters the esophagus and results in vomiting or food regurgitation, these acids coat the surface of the tongue and teeth and left untreated can do a number on your enamel. Then we’re talking tooth sensitivity, decay, damage and bad breath.

Your Gainesville dentist has this to say: There is a solution.

Knowing how your gastrointestinal health can affect your oral health is the first step toward maintaining your overall health — and toward protecting those pearly whites. During your next check up and cleaning at our Gainesville dental office, let us know that you’re being treated for acid reflux, so that we can be aware of your health concerns; we’ll take the time to look for signs of enamel erosion and discuss possible causes, and the appropriate course of treatment.

In the meantime, do your part to protect your teeth:

    • After a particularly intense reflux episode, you may be tempted to run and brush your teeth. Maybe don’t do that. Immediate brushing may damage already acid weakened enamel.
    • Sugar-free chewing gum will stimulate the flow of saliva, which reduces acid in your mouth.
    • Consider using toothpaste and mouth rinse with fluoride. If you’re unsure which product is the best to use, ask your Gainesville dentist.

Schedule an appointment with Gainesville Dental Associates today.

Your teeth are strong and healthy, a solid foundation for your strong and healthy smile; let’s keep them that way.