Young female suffering from heartburn

How is Acid Reflux Damaging Your Teeth?

Acid reflux is the worst.

It’s uncomfortable, painful, it can damage your teeth, and in some cases, it can lead to esophageal cancer.

If you experience chronic acid reflux or heartburn, you know that the over-the-counter medications don’t do anything but provide temporary relief.

But what you may not know is that there is a medical term for the discomfort that you feel and it can even be manageable with the right medication.

How can acid reflux damage my teeth?

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD or acid reflux, is what happens when your stomach acid flows back into your esophagus.

When the stomach acid makes its way into your mouth, it can eat away at your enamel in a process called erosion. The loss of your enamel and the damaging effects of the acid can lead to:

  • Increased sensitivity to temperature and sweetness
  • Cavities and decay (in some cases your tooth may disappear from around fillings)
  • Discolouration
  • Chipped front teeth that may have thin or translucent edges

Once the enamel is gone, it’s gone forever. The only thing your dentist can do is propose cosmetic and/or restorative treatment options like bonding, crowns, root canals, or fillings.

How can I prevent GERD?

While acid reflux and heartburn are manageable with medications, there are some things you can do to lower your chances of long term effects.

Other than practicing good oral hygiene and doing things like visiting your dentist regularly and using dentin-sensitive toothpaste, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to ensure acid reflux doesn’t control your life, including.

Quit or significantly cut back on smoking and drinking

Nicotine from cigarettes relaxes the valve between your esophagus and stomach. This allows the stomach acid to travel back into your esophagus, causing heartburn.

When you drink alcohol, it interacts with your stomach and esophagus on numerous levels, which can make existing GERD symptoms worse.

Change your eating habits

The things you eat and the frequency have significant effects on your GERD symptoms.

Consider cutting back on chocolate, peppermint, and fatty, fried, and spicy foods to name a few. All of these can make your symptoms worse by relaxing the valve between your esophagus and stomach.

Avoid wearing tight clothing over your stomach

Things like tight belts, waistbands or pantyhose may dig into your stomach and make your symptoms worse by pushing gastric acid into your esophagus.

How can I lessen the effects of acid reflux on my teeth?

The best thing to do is to make an appointment with your dentist. If you’re still searching for someone who will do everything in their power to get your healthy smile back, reach out to Dr. Andrea Stevens.

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