A couple of hours after devouring a Double-Double in In-and-Out Burgers, you’re lying in bed with that burning pain in your chest. Heartburn strikes!
About 60 million Americans suffer from acid reflux at least once a month.
It occurs when the acid in your stomach backflows into your esophagus, the tube that connects the throat and stomach. When that happens, you may notice a sour taste in the back of your mouth or a sharp, burning sensation in your chest (heartburn).
Heartburn may be a sign of a chronic severe type of acid reflux known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
Acid Reflux and Teeth
Acid reflux and GERD are more than just uncomfortable–these medical conditions can damage your oral health. Let’s take a look at the relationship between acid reflux and teeth.
Although the most common symptom of acid reflux is a burning feeling in the throat or chest, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the only sign of the disease is tooth sensitivity. This happens because acidic stomach juices come into contact with the mouth and break down teeth over time. This is why dentists are often the first health care professional to see signs of acid reflux or GERD.
Caring for Your Teeth When You Have Acid Reflux
Specialists called gastroenterologists typically create a treatment plan for chronic acid reflux and GERD. But that plan may not include tips on protecting your teeth. If you have acid reflux regularly, here are some tips for preventing acid reflux damage to your teeth:
- Be a smart brusher – No dentist will tell you to brush your teeth less (and neither will we). However, brushing right after you notice the symptoms of acid reflux can make any existing damage worse. If you need to clean your mouth or freshen your breath immediately following an acid reflux episode, try rinsing your mouth out with water or baking soda.
- Chew sugar-free gum – This can stimulate your saliva glands and freshens your breath. Saliva protects your teeth and helps wash away the harmful acids that enter your mouth when you have acid reflux or GERD.
- Change your diet – Spicy foods, caffeinated drinks and even cigarette smoking can trigger acid reflux. Avoid these items, especially before bed.
- Call our office – We can help you come up with a treatment plan to protect your teeth by limiting acid reflux damage to your teeth with specific toothpastes, rinses, and more.
- See a specialist – Don’t let chronic acid reflux go untreated. Talk to a gastroenterologist about treatment.
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.