Did you overindulge over the holidays? Or do you have broken resolutions about eating healthier that are catching up with you?
Sometimes our love for food can cause acid reflux and that can damage our smiles. Many people experience acid reflux from time to time, when acid from the stomach moves into the esophagus, as result of over-eating or eating too much of the wrong types of food – such as spicy foods, chocolate or alcohol. However, if you experience acid reflux regularly, at least twice a week, you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. GERD causes a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), can damage your esophagus, and can even damage your teeth.
When you experience GERD, you are at risk for the loss, or erosion of tooth enamel. This is caused when the sour acid in your stomach backs up into your throat and mouth and comes in contact with your teeth. The acid begins to break down the surface of your teeth, causing the enamel to erode.
Dr. Joe Sharkus, a dentist with First Choice Dental on Regent Street in Madison, WI, says, "People who've suffered from GERD or frequent acid reflux may see evidence of this on their teeth. This condition can cause damage from mild to moderate enamel erosion, to cavities and the need for crowns in more severe cases. Your dentist can help you determine the best course of action if your teeth have been damaged by acid reflux or GERD."
GERD also causes dry mouth, which can promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth and cause dental decay. Many patients who suffer from GERD find relief from the burning sensation in their mouth by sucking on mints or lozenges. Just make sure you are using unsweetened products. These will help promote saliva production and discourage dry mouth and won’t increase your risk of tooth decay.
Sometimes a dentist is the first health care provider to recognize GERD in a patient because of the symptoms that present orally.
If you suffer from GERD, or think you might, talk to your health care provider about diet recommendations, preventive strategies and treatment options to lessen the severity of your symptoms. Make sure to discuss your concerns with your dental provider too, so you can work together to keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible.
Schedule an appointment online today and see if your dentist can help with relief from damage caused by GERD or acid reflux.