Can Acid Reflux Damage My Smile?
Everybody has probably felt some sort of acid reflux in their life. Also known as heartburn or indigestion, acid reflux can occur occasionally as a result of eating spicy foods, eating too much Kansas City barbecue in one sitting, or laying down too fast after a meal. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a condition caused by stomach acid coming out of the stomach into the esophagus. If you have the burning sensation of acid reflux more than twice a week, it may be a sign of GERD. Although, GERD does not always feel like heartburn. GERD can have problematic effects on your oral health.
Effects of GERD on Your Smile
Dentists are often the first to notice a potential acid reflux problem because they may see signs of tooth erosion. The acid released by your stomach can gradually erode your enamel. Enamel erosion can lead to tooth decay and weakened teeth that can be more susceptible to damage. Other symptoms of GERD can include sinus infections, cough, hoarseness in the throat, a difficulty swallowing, and bad breath. GERD can cause long-term damage to your esophagus, which can make it more susceptible to esophageal cancer.
Tips for Dealing With It
Enamel erosion is permanent. Once enamel is loss, the body cannot regenerate more or heal it like it can with skin or other tissues. Enamel erosion can be dealt with by your dentist through some sort of restorative treatment like bonding or a crown. You and your doctor can work together to treat GERD. Some helpful tips besides medicine could be a change in the diet. Eliminating acidic or spicy foods can provide some relief. Eating less or staying upright after a meal can also help. Overweight people (especially people with a heavy midsection) can be more likely to have GERD therefore weight loss can be a good way to manage the symptoms. As with any health concerns, it is important to talk to your dentist about the potential and possible effects on your smile’s health.