Would you be surprised if your dentist asked about your acid reflux? Believe it or not, the effects of acid reflux disease can show up pretty clearly in your teeth. This condition, which is quite common in adults over 20, causes stomach acid to regurgitate up the esophagus and often into the mouth. The powerful acids from our stomachs can wreak havoc on our tooth enamel, causing erosion and weakening over time. Without the strong outer layer of enamel, our teeth become sensitive and easily susceptible to cavities.
If you have acid reflux that is mild or moderate and you leave it untreated, consider the damage you may be doing to your dental health. Dentists first recommend that you see your primary care doctor to effectively treat your acid reflux. If you continue to battle heartburn and reflux, follow these steps to lessen the damage on your pearly whites:
- Drink water following a reflux episode. Washing away the acids before it sits on your teeth is a tremendous help to protect your enamel.
- Wait to brush. You may be tempted to grab your toothbrush after a bad encounter with acid reflux. However, brushing right away can be abrasive and will only worsen the potential harm because the acids need a chance to neutralize before you start scrubbing away.
- Watch your diet. Avoid the foods and drinks that trigger your reflux condition.
It is so important that you let a dental professional, such as a qualified dentist from Group Health Dental, examine your mouth for any signs of enamel erosion or potential treatment options. Ignoring you acid reflux could turn a stomach problem quickly into a mouth problem. Your dentist can recommend enamel-strengthening toothpastes and detect tooth decay at its earliest, most treatable stage.
Contact your dentist right away if you notice tooth sensitivity, darkening teeth, unexplained mouth irritation or thinning/shortening of your teeth. These could be potential signs of acid reflux and tooth damage.