It is estimated that approximately 7 million Americans suffer from severe acid reflux due to chronic heartburn. If you’re one of these, you know how uncomfortable this condition can be. However, did you realize that your acid reflux can also damage your smile? The dentists of Schmitt Dental explain to patients the link between acid reflux and possible dental problems.
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux associated with damage to the smile is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or “GERD.” This condition causes stomach acid to come up through the esophagus and into the mouth. These acids, if left on the teeth without brushing, can eat away at natural tooth enamel, causing serious damage. Individuals with GERD can sometimes be determined due to the damage to their natural teeth, which often shown with enamel that is thin or pitted. Stomach acid has a low pH level of 2.0, which makes it harmful to enamel of the teeth.
What are some signs of tooth erosion?
Patients who have acid reflux will need to pay close attention to their condition to reduce the risk of developing tooth erosion that impacts their oral health and wellness. The erosion of natural tooth enamel is not reversible, so prevention is critical. Below are a few of the more common symptoms of tooth erosion found in patients:
- Pitting or thinning of natural tooth enamel
- Cracks near the edge of teeth
- Thinning near biting edges of the front teeth
- Yellowing and discoloration of dentin
- Increased sensitivity to cold or hot foods
- Increased sensitivity to sweet foods and beverages
How to manage acid reflux to reduce damage to the smile
Patients who have acid reflux often find that they begin to notice the triggers in their diet that can make it worse. Avoiding these foods is highly recommended, as well as rinsing the mouth with water after episodes. Patients are also encouraged to work with their primary care physician to obtain medication that is used to manage the condition and reduce the risk of damage to a patient’s smile.
Call Schmitt Dental today!
If you live in the areas of Brentwood or Clarksville, TN and want to work with a dentist in the community that has your smile’s best interests at heart, call Schmitt Dental today! We are pleased to offer a variety of general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry options for both new and existing patients.