- September 19, 2019
That burning sensation in your chest caused by acid reflux is doing more than keeping you awake at night. It is common for stomach acid to shoot upward through your esophagus instead of staying in your digestive tract. In turn, this can end up in your mouth where it can damage your dental health. It is important to understand how to protect teeth from acid reflux.
The acid from your stomach that breaks down food is also strong enough to eat away at your teeth and gums.
Continuous exposure to stomach acid in your mouth means the enamel that protects your teeth is wearing away. Over time your teeth become vulnerable to cavities caused by the decay. The damage can lead to infections, tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss.
Exposure to stomach acid also affect your gums and raises the risk of gum disease (periodontal disease). Weak, receding gums can lead to loose teeth and the risk of developing infections that can spread to other parts of the body.
Acid reflux can also cause dry mouth, which means you have little or no saliva. Without saliva, your mouth is left without its natural protective mechanism to wash away sugars and bacteria.
A Proactive Approach
Before you begin to see signs of health problems caused by acid reflux, there are some proactive steps you can take to get the situation under control.
1. Seek Medical Care.
Your medical doctor may refer you to a gastroenterology specialist who can evaluate your condition and if appropriate, prescribe medication.
2. Seek Dental Care.
Keep up with visits to the dentist every six months for cleanings and a checkup on the condition of your teeth. Be sure to tell your dentist that you are experiencing acid reflux and how often the attacks shoot acid into your mouth.
3. Eat Right.
Cut back or eliminate foods and drinks that cause your stomach to produce more acid, such as soda, citrus and spicy foods.
4. Change Your Habits.
Monitor what activities cause your acid reflux and alter your behaviors. This may include eating smaller meals, reducing intake of alcohol, not eating late at night and quitting smoking.
5. Switch Toothpaste.
Ask your dentist about the best toothpaste brand for sensitive teeth as a result of enamel erosion from acid reflux.
Schedule Your Next Visit to the Dentist
The bottom line is to try and stay ahead of acid reflux before it causes significant oral health problems. Work closely with your medical professionals, including your dentist, to develop a treatment plan.
If you need a dental checkup near Minooka or Joliet, be sure to contact Shorewood Family Dental Care at 815-725-5991 or book an appointment online.