Your mouth is part of your digestive system, so it should be no surprise that what happens in your digestive tract affects your oral health. When you experience heartburn or acid reflux in Oklahoma City, OK, you probably experience an acidy taste due to the stomach fluids hitting your taste buds. These fluids contain some of the acids from your stomach, which has the potential to erode your teeth. That is why Dr. Van Horn at Southern Smiles Dental PC always discusses prevention with patients who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic heartburn.
GERD and Tooth Erosion
The enamel on your teeth is susceptible to excessive acid. There are normal protections to prevent erosion. For example, the saliva in your mouth protects your teeth, and there are functions in place to keep your stomach acid in the stomach. With GERD, those normal functions break down. Not only does the valve that is supposed to keep your stomach acid in the stomach malfunction, allowing acid and stomach juices into the esophagus and mouth. The stomach juices also displace saliva from the teeth, leaving your teeth more vulnerable.
The acid in your stomach has the power to dissolve the minerals that make up your enamel. Even if you do not feel heartburn or other overt signs of GERD, your dentist might identify that you have an issue due to unexplained tooth erosion.
There are some actions you can take to reduce the impact of acid reflux on your oral health. An essential one is to work with a medical professional on finding the underlying reasons for GERD and treat those. Additionally, you can:
· Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after experiencing heartburn
· Rinse your mouth with water
· Chew sugar-free gum
· Use fluoride-containing mouthwash and toothpaste
· Avoid drinking or eating acidic foods that would further exacerbate your acid reflux
Contact our office to schedule an appointment with Oklahoma City, OK dentist Dr. Jaycee Van Horn. She will discuss your health history and will come up with a treatment plan to maintain good oral health even with GERD to avoid any dental problems, including tooth erosion.
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