Meta Description: Knowing these risks and taking action to stop the oral health issues that acid reflux produces is crucial if you are one of the millions of people who experience acid reflux.
Did you know that your digestive system’s condition might affect your teeth’ health? When stomach acid is permitted to ascend the esophagus, acid reflux develops. Even while it doesn’t directly harm the heart, this frequently results in heartburn because the esophagus lacks the stomach’s protective lining, which shields the stomach from its own acid. Acid reflux is known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) if it occurs regularly.
Even though GERD and acid reflux can sometimes occur without causing pain, this does not necessarily mean that no harm is being done. This acid may occasionally find its way into your mouth, endangering your dental health. It’s important to understand how acid reflux might damage the status of your teeth and gums if you suffer from the condition.
What effects does acid reflux have on dental health?
Acid reflux patients are more likely to experience tooth erosion and periodontal issues. At a pH of 5.5, tooth enamel starts to dissolve, while stomach acid has a pH of no more than 2. Daily exposure to the acid starts to weaken and erode away the teeth’s protective layer, leaving them considerably more vulnerable.
The delicate inner dentin layer of the tooth becomes visible as the enamel is worn away, and this can cause further, extremely serious issues with the health of your teeth and mouth. These alterations are frequently first seen by your dentist. It is essential to remember that just because a person does not have burning symptoms does not indicate they do not have acid reflux.
The enamel on the outside of the teeth might become damaged if it is exposed to stomach acid on a regular basis. In many situations, people are unaware of the damage the reflux is doing until the devastation has reached an advanced degree.
If this takes place, it may result in:
Acid reflux can lead to major issues with your oral health because of the stomach acid that leaks into your esophagus. The erosion of enamel is one of these issues. Your teeth’s enamel shields them from deterioration and injury. Your teeth grow more susceptible to decay and damage as the enamel erodes from exposure to stomach acid. This can result in dental infections, excruciating pain, and a higher chance of tooth loss. Significant tooth sensitivity may also result from it.
Increased risk of cavities
It is simpler for the bacteria found in tooth plaque to form cavities when the mouth is generally acidic. Acid production by bacteria allows them to eat through tooth enamel. They consume refined carbohydrates like sugar and produce acid as a by-product.
The microbes can enter the tooth by progressively wearing away a small patch of enamel caused by this acid. The weaker enamel makes it simpler for germs to function when the mouth is acidic. Bacteria that cause cavities thrive in an acidic mouth.
Gum health can be negatively impacted by acid reflux as well. Periodontal disease, often known as gum disease, is more likely to develop when someone is exposed to stomach acids. The illness damages your gum tissue, leading to gum recession and an elevated risk of tooth loss. You risk getting infections that spread to other regions of your body if you have periodontal disease.
Dentists frequently detect symptoms of this issue during routine cleanings and exams of the teeth. While you could have symptoms like heartburn, dentists can search for acid reflux damage indications like enamel erosion or gum issues. In order to safeguard your teeth and gums, it’s critical to control this condition as much as you can if you already know you have it.
How to prevent dental damage
Here are a few ideas in defending your teeth from the harm that acid reflux causes:
Chew sugar-free xylitol gum to increase saliva production. Saliva contains minerals that support the development of the tooth surface and aid in neutralizing acid. Even while chewing gum promotes saliva in all forms, xylitol-containing gum also blocks the chemical reaction between acid and tooth structure, preventing calcium loss.
Avoid brushing your teeth shortly after an incident of acid reflux. Waiting an hour will give your saliva time to wash away the acid and rebuild the minerals in your teeth because the acid softens tooth enamel.
Instead, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water following a reflux attack.
Take an antacid tablet or rinse with an antacid solution to neutralize the acid. Antacids without sugar work best.
Ask your dentist about fluoride toothpaste, special mouth rinses, or in-office procedures to strengthen your teeth. Amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP)-containing toothpastes may also help stop erosion.
Use a saliva substitute or chew green tea gum if you have xerostomia (dry mouth), which can enhance saliva flow and lessen mouth acidity.
Adjusting one’s way of life can also assist in controlling acid burn bothersome symptoms. These include eating smaller meals, finishing meals three hours before night, avoiding lying down straight after eating, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, spicy or acidic foods and beverages. Your overall health will improve if you stop smoking and lose weight, in addition to avoiding acid burn symptoms.
Your doctor may also suggest a prescription or over-the-counter drug to treat GERD or its symptoms. Tell your dentist about all drugs you use and any medical conditions you have, especially those you might not initially associate with your dental health.
Maintaining your mouth’s health depends on following your doctor’s advice and taking the medicine they have recommended to manage your acid reflux. Aside from brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, you should also floss once a day to maintain good oral hygiene. Routine dental exams can also ensure your teeth and mouth’s health. If not, your dentist can assist you in assessing your dental hygiene practices and treating any tooth decay or damage.