Acid Reflux or GERD is a digestive disorder where the stomach’s contents are pushed back up into the esophagus. GERD often affects women who are pregnant. Additionally, it can also be caused by a hiatal hernia. While it can rather painful, the condition can be effectively managed and treated with a change in lifestyle and diet, however in some rare cases it may require severe medical intervention and possibly even surgery.
If you are diagnosed with GERD it is important to understand the effect it can have on your dental health.
The most important point of concern is that acid reflux can lead to severe dental erosion. Dental enamel usually begins to erode when it comes into contact with any substance with a Ph. level of 5.5. Acids in the stomach have a Ph. level of 2 or lower, making them extremely acidic. When dental enamel comes into contact with these acids, they begin to erode the enamel of the teeth, eventually eroding the dentin as well.
Acid or dental erosion is an exceedingly common problem in the world today. While its effects can be permanent, its onset can be mitigated to a large extent by implementing the following measures.
- Avoid foods that are highly acidic. This includes foods like tomatoes, citrus foods, anything with lime or lemon, fried or fatty foods, dairy caffeine and even chocolate.
- Refrain from brushing your teeth for at least 60 minutes after an episode of reflux.
- Rinse your mouth with water right after experience acid reflux. This simple measure is extremely effective in reducing your chances of dental erosion.
- Consider sugar-free antacids for both dental health as well as to combat GERD.
- Chewing sugarless gum or candies can additionally help stall the onset of dental erosion.
Additionally, dental erosion is one of the first signs of GERD. Regular consultations with a dentist will ensure that such a condition is diagnosed before too much damage has been inflicted on the teeth. Symptoms include yellowing of the enamel, widening of gaps between the teeth and extreme sensitivity to foods.
Conversely, if you have already been diagnosed, regular dental check-ups will enable you to keep track of your dental health and ensure that the disorder does not take a toll on your dental health. If dental erosion is not caught in time, its effects can be permanent, which include an irreparable loss of teeth.