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Acid Reflux/GERD and it's effect on your Oral Health

 Acid Reflux/GERD
 Over 10 percent of Americans experience the discomfort of heartburn every day. Heartburn, or acid indigestion, is a common symptom of chronic acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What is Acid Reflux and GERD?
Acid reflux takes place when muscles of the esophagus relax and allow stomach acids to flow upwards. These acids can cause irritation and inflammation, and negatively impact your oral health. Acid reflux can progress further and develop into GERD Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease  is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. GERD causes corrosion of the esophageal lining and an uncomfortable burning sensation associated with heartburn.
Signs and Symptoms
  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation
  • Burning sensation in mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea, vomiting, belching
  • Chronic coughing
  • Erosion of tooth enamel
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Chipping, discoloration of teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Cavities
  • Dry mouth
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
How Does GERD Affect Your Oral Health?
GERD can erode tooth enamel. Research shows tooth enamel begins to erode at a pH, or acid level, of 5.5. Your stomach acid with the pH of 2.0, can easily damage tooth enamel and cause increased tooth sensitivity, decay, discoloration, and chipping.
Treatments and Lifestyle Modifications
Though GERD is a chronic condition, its symptoms can be treated using medications and lifestyle modifications. You can reduce GERD symptoms by...
  • Avoiding trigger foods and beverages, including chocolate, spicy/greasy foods, tomato-based foods, alcohol, and coffee, citrus fruits and juices.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Refraining from eating several hours before bed, or lying down two to three hours after eating.
  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Avoiding tight clothing.
Protect Your Teeth Against Acid Reflux
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent acid reflux or GERD from damaging your teeth and causing decay. In addition to brushing twice a day, you can take the following steps to ensure GERD doesn't impact your oral health...
  • Visit your dentist regularly for tooth enamel evaluation.
  • Rinse your mouth with water following acid reflux episodes.
  • Do not brush your teeth for 60 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks.
  • Drink the proper amount of water through out the day, it is recommended for men to consume 13 cups of water per day and women to consume 9 cups per day.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste, we recommend CLINPRO, receive fluoride treatments to strengthen your teeth, and use a daily prescription strength fluoride product. Our office offers OMNI GEL.
  • Avoid over-the-counter antacids, especially at night, that have a high sugar content.
Speak to you dental provider, and physician if you believe you could be at risk of acid reflux or GERD. GERD can be incredibly damaging to your oral health,  however lifestyle modifications and proper dental treatment can help ensure your teeth remain safe and healthy.

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