Acid reflux happens when the muscle at the lower part of the esophagus relaxes at bad timing giving the stomach acid a chance to go into the esophagus. It can potentially affect teeth and oral health. In this article, we are going to figure out how to protect your teeth from acid reflux. Dubbo’s trusted dental clinic, Advanced Dental Care also emphasizes the importance of preventing gastroesophageal reflux disease which is the endpoint of non-stop acid reflux.
What Causes Acid Reflux
Experiencing acid reflux can be a very discomforting situation to be in. It promotes a number of complications such as tooth erosion and heartburn. When this acid starts to move up into the esophagus, it can pose threats to your oral health as well.
The following are the reasons why acid reflux takes place:
- several foods and beverages such as acidic foods, alcohol, fatty foods, and chocolate.
- obesity or being overweight
- anti-inflammatory drugs
- hiatus hernia
You can protect your teeth from gastroesophageal reflux disease by avoiding acidic foods but there are other ways to do so. Tooth erosion is one of its major effects and it must be avoided at all cost.
How Acid Reflux Affect The Teeth
You may not be aware of it but acid reflux is typically the root cause of tooth erosion. It will gradually erode the teeth enamel. When the acid from the stomach reaches the teeth, it will start to eat away the outer layer of the tooth causing it to eventually lose its minerals and strength. After this, tooth sensitivity, decay, and teeth cracks will start to emerge leading to erosion.
Tooth erosion can emerge due to other reasons such as:
- Wine. any kind of wine has the power to soften the teeth enamel and start erosion.
- Fruit juice. Whether it’s organic or not, fruit juice often contains acidic properties that can damage your teeth enamel.
- Citric fruits. Despite their numerous health benefits, citric fruits are huge contributors to tooth erosion as well.
- Sugar. While sugar may not have a high level of acidic elements, it encourages the growth of bacteria in the mouth that creates acid, generating an acidic surrounding.
Signs And Symptoms Of Tooth Erosion
Ignoring acid reflux can lead to certain dental issues such as erosion. It is essential to determine the symptoms of tooth erosion so that you can prevent it from developing first hand. Early treatment will protect you from many dental catastrophic situations like extreme damages in the teeth, cracks, or worse, decay that might lead to tooth loss.
- Sensitivity. If you suddenly became sensitive to cold and hot foods, your teeth enamel is probably compromised. Tooth sensitivity often occurs because the outer layer of the teeth is becoming thin, leaving you with little to no protection against sensitivity.
- Changes in teeth color. Once the enamel becomes extremely thin, the inner dentin will be exposed, and this part of your teeth usually comes in a yellowish shade.
- Transparent edges. You will notice that the edges of your teeth are becoming quite translucent as the enamel begins to wear off.
- Cracks. At first, it will not be noticeable but later on, crack on the edges of the teeth will start to develop.
- Cupping. Some small dents will begin to show up on the surface of the teeth, for people with dental fillings, it will seem like the fillings are detaching themselves from the tooth.
Protect Your Teeth From Acid Reflux
Stay away from tooth erosion with these simple tips on how you can protect your teeth from acid reflux:
- Regular dental visit. Oftentimes, dentists can already determine if the cause of your tooth problems is acid reflux. Visiting the dental office twice a year or every six months will protect you not only from tooth erosion but against other dental problems as well.
- Manage your acid reflux. If you are aware that you have acid reflux, do not ignore it and find solutions to treat it. You may start by consulting a gastroenterology specialist as they will know what causes your acid reflux and the best way to put it under control. You will be given proper guidelines so that the acid won’t affect your teeth.
- Adjust your diet. Most of the time, acid reflux is triggered by foods like soda, citrus foods, juice, and sauces. You might want to limit your consumption of these foods to lessen the symptoms.
- Use a straw. If drinking acidic beverages is hard to keep away from, you can use a straw whenever you drink them. This will significantly protect your teeth from the acid that the drinks contain.
- Chew on gums that are sugar-free. Chewing gum has many benefits as well. Apart from giving you a fresher breath in an instant, it also helps in the production of saliva which is essential in strengthening your teeth with minerals.
- Do not brush your teeth right away after eating acidic foods. In addition to this, use a soft toothbrush only. The reason why you need to wait for an hour or so before brushing your teeth is that acidic foods can soften the teeth enamel. Wait for it to harden up again before scrubbing your teeth.
- If you have tooth sensitivity, pick a toothpaste and mouth rinse with fluoride. If you are unsure which kind to use, you can always consult your dentist for the best options.
- Eat a piece of cheese or milk after eating acidic foods to counteract the effect of acids.
- Always wash your mouth with water after eating or drinking. This is to initially remove the acidic particles in your teeth.
- Don’t ignore your dry mouth. Keep yourself hydrated at all times. Dehydration can cause dry mouth and hinder the production of saliva.
Teeth erosion can be fixed and treated depending on the extremity of the situation. Some cases are easy to treat while others are just irreversible. It will solely depend on the damages it has caused your teeth. Your dentist might recommend tooth bonding which is good for damaged and cracked teeth.