If you suffer from acid reflux, you may be curious about it's effects on the body and in particular, your teeth. Below is a basic overview of the condition, how it can affect your dental health, and what can be done to keep your teeth healthy and strong despite the condition.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is a medical condition that causes the stomach acids to travel up the esophagus and into the mouth.
With more than 60 million Americans suffering from this condition you certainly aren't alone. Acid reflux can present itself in a number of ways including heartburn, regurgitation, and general stomach discomfort. While healthy adults can suffer from heartburn and related symptoms on occasion, those with acid reflux will suffer from its effects at least once a month and can suffer from dental damage.
How Can Acid Reflux Affect Your Teeth?
If you suffer from regurgitation as a result of your acid reflux, your teeth can easily became damaged from the stomach acids entering your mouth.
As your teeth are exposed to the acids, the enamel will slowly begin to erode which can lead to pain and sensitivity, discoloration, and even tooth decay. Individuals with acid reflux may suffer from cracking and chipping, as the teeth become weakned over time, and these effects can even cause difficulties with chewing. Advanced decay can cause tooth loss and even lead to jaw bone loss which can cause disfiguration of the jaw.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Dental Health
If you suffer from acid reflux, the health of your teeth should be a top priority. There are a number of ways you can protect your teeth, some of which include treating the root problem.
While there are enamel-strengthening toothpastes and mouth rinses available, and while your dentist may prescribe these to you, it's important that the actual issue, acid reflux, be addressed head on. For some individuals, simple diet changes can make a huge difference. These changes may include cutting out certain food items, such as citrus and caffeine, as well as losing weight and eating smaller portions. If the lifestyle changes you've made don't seem to be helping, you can also consult your doctor about medications to treat the over-production of acids which leads to the reflux.
To learn more about acid reflux's effects on your dental health and what you can do to prevent damage, consult with a dentist, such as McMillin Jeff DDS.Share