Acid reflux disease or GERD, is a common problem that causes stomach acids to move back into the esophagus or mouth. This causes the problem often known as heartburn. While it is uncomfortable to deal with, acid reflux disease can also cause numerous problems in the long run.
How do I know if I have acid reflux?
The first thing you need to do is to visit your physician to understand what might be behind your GERD. It might be that you’re eating foods that just don’t agree with your stomach or it could be something further that needs additional inspection.
The most common trigger foods include onions, tomatoes, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate.
How is acid reflux treated?
Acid reflux is usually treated with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. If you find yourself suffering from sinus infections, hoarseness, bad breath, cough, and difficulty swelling, as well as heartburn, you’ll want to address these issues with your doctor.
How does acid reflux affect oral health?
Stomach acid has a pH of 2.0. It is very acidic and will slowly dissolve your teeth as dental enamel begins to dissolve at 5.5. As your teeth begin to dissolve, you’ll notice that your teeth have an increased sensitivity to cold and hot foods. This is because as your enamel wears away your nerves begin to become exposed.
Over time and from regular stomach acid baths your teeth will begin to rot. Patients with acid reflux also suffer from dry mouth. So when your teeth aren’t getting an acid bath, they’re suffering from severely dry conditions which also increase the buildup of bacteria and plaque.
How do I treat acid reflux?
Acid reflux is best treated by lifestyle management and medications. Once you get your GERD under control it is important that you see your dentist.
Dr. Hoang will inspect your teeth and ensure they’re healthy. If he finds decay, he will map out a clear treatment plan that might include a deep cleaning, along with restorations.
After each acid reflux episode it’s important you rinse your mouth with water and avoid brushing for about an hour. We also advise you take a sugar-free antacid and let it dissolve in your mouth. Chewing gum and sucking on sugar-free hard candies will help keep your mouth moist and combat the dry mouth that commonly afflicts people with acid reflux.
If you’ve been a long time GERD sufferer we encourage you to give us a call and schedule an appointment. Our team has extensive experience treating patients who suffer from acid reflux and can help get your mouth of a path toward a healthier future.