When you eat something that disagrees with your stomach, you might experience heartburn. Episodes of heartburn can become uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Chronic heartburn can eventually hurt the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as acid reflux, can also damage teeth. In this article, Lake Forest dentist, Dr. James Fondriest, explains GERD and how to protect teeth from stomach acid.
What is GERD?
Despite the name, heartburn has everything to do with your stomach. When you experience heartburn, stomach contents escape back into the esophagus and can reach the mouth. The strength of stomach acid creates a burning sensation up the esophagus, causing pain inside of the chest. With GERD, this process occurs persistently. Studies show people with GERD display nearly 50% worse tooth erosion than those without acid reflux problems. Some wear on teeth will naturally occur from regular function, but stomach acid can compound the progress of tooth wear and cause serious problems for your mouth.
How Teeth Feel the Burn
Decay is almost certain when teeth meet with stomach acid. Tooth enamel wears away during exposure to acid in foods and drinks, so it incurs even more damage from stronger acid like that in our stomachs. If teeth come into contact with stomach acid regularly, bacteria have more opportunity to attach to softened enamel and cause decay. Enamel damage occurs when acid de-mineralizes your tooth’s outer layer. GERD sufferers may notice changes to teeth as acid damages the lingual surfaces, those that face the tongue and palate. If teeth appear flattened, sharp, or show cupping, GERD could already be taking its toll your mouth.
Preventing Tooth Decay from GERD
Brushing after an episode of acid reflux may damage teeth further, so take steps to repair enamel first. Rinse with fluoride mouthwash after a bout with stomach acid. Fluoride replenishes enamel by attracting minerals like calcium and phosphorus . Talk with Dr. Fondriest about specialized toothpastes if you suffer from GERD.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Lake Forest Dentist
If occasional heartburn or GERD affects your teeth, or to discuss fluoride enriched toothpastes, visit our office. Schedule an appointment today by calling (847) 234-0517.
Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States