Did you know acid reflux and GERD can impact your oral health?
There are many lifestyle habits and health concerns that affect your dental health, including acid reflux. Also known as “heartburn” and GERD, acid reflux allows damaging acids from the stomach to move up the esophagus, causing characteristic discomfort, belching and a burning sensation in the upper chest area.
Many suffering with acid reflux will also experience erosion of tooth enamel as a result of acids from the stomach which make their way into the mouth. In addition, many common medications for acid reflux can lead to a condition known as dry mouth, which reduces saliva production and raises the risk of periodontal disease and enamel erosion: saliva is a natural “mouth rinse” that helps to reduce the number of harmful bacteria on surfaces of the teeth and gums.
Tooth enamel erosion is permanent damage that can compromise the strength of your teeth. This is a common cause of tooth sensitivity, especially to cold and sweets. Thinning teeth can look grey and chip more easily, leading the teeth to look older than they are. Addressing this early and effectively is important for maintaining dental health and a youthful functional smile.
Signs of Tooth Enamel Erosion
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Chips and cracks in teeth
- Tooth discoloration
At Proud Smiles in Sandy Springs, Dr. Brenda Paulen provides individualized dental care for patients, taking the time to understand their medical history and health concerns. For patients also suffering with and being treated for acid reflux, Dr. Paulen will screen for signs of tooth enamel erosion and gum disease, recommending appropriate oral hygiene or restorative dental treatment to keep your smile healthy.
Protect Your Teeth From Erosion
Taking the proper steps to control acid reflex can help protect your teeth in the long run. Following these key tips can help protect your tooth enamel and improve your dental health.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gums helps promote saliva production. Saliva helps remove acids from the mouth and reduce the risk of dry mouth.
- Incorporate fluoride in your oral hygiene routine. Fluoride can be found in a range of dental hygiene products, including toothpaste and mouthwash.
- Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption to help minimize the risk of an acid reflux attack.
- Schedule regular visits to the dentist to assess your risk of tooth enamel erosion.
- Visit a physician to determine the underlying cause of your acid reflux or GERD.