Acid Reflux and Dental Health:
Our digestive system can affect our oral health directly. Acid produced by the stomach to aid in digestion is accurately balanced by our saliva in most cases. However, in patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux, also known as acid reflux or GERD, gastric acids travel up the throat to the mouth at frequent intervals throughout the day.
This can lead to tooth erosion which damages our protective enamel layer. Unfortunately, tooth erosion is permanent. The common symptoms of tooth erosion due to acid reflux are:
- Tooth sensitivity which is a severe pricking short lasting pain when tooth is exposed to hot and cold food. This happens when the dentine layer of tooth which contains nerve endings is exposed
- Yellowish discoloration of the teeth and discoloration of fillings at times
- Cavities can develop in the less resistant erosion areas
- Persistent bad breath
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Treatment of the underlying cause of acid reflux. Avoid foods which exacerbate the reflux and have meals on time refraining from eating 3 hours before bedtime
- Sugar free Xylitol chewing gums can increase saliva production as a natural defense.
- Topical fluoride application at the dental office
- Use of densensitizing toothpastes
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking
- Regular dental checkups and treatment of severe erosion with fillings, root canals, veneers or crowns