As a local dentist, we want our patients to understand how common acid reflux is and what it can do to your teeth. Most people think of this condition as something that impacts their stomach only. In all actuality, it impacts the stomach, esophagus, throat, and teeth. As acid moves backwards from the stomach and up through the esophagus, it can enter the mouth and start attacking the teeth. The result is reflux-induced erosion.
Here is what you need to know to protect yourself.
How you can reduce your acid reflux:
If you are suffering from this condition, visit your doctor and start taking medication to keep your reflux under control. In the meantime, you can use over the counter antacids. You should also watch what you eat and make sure that you don’t eat anything that is too spicy or acidic. Even coffee and caffeine can cause an attack so pay attention to what you eat and eliminate anything that is causing irritation.
Treating an acid attack:
If an attack happens, take an antacid and drink a glass of soy or almond milk so that you can feel better. Do not brush your teeth since the brushing motion can irritate the teeth and cause further erosion. Once an hour has passed, you can brush your teeth but gently. As a dentist, we know that this is important for not damaging your teeth even further. You can also use baking soda to help combat the effects of the attack.
Symptoms you can watch for:
As a dentist, some of our patients start to see that their teeth are turning yellow from this condition. It is also common for teeth to become sensitive as the dentin under the enamel becomes exposed. In the worse case scenario, you may experience bone loss and even tooth loss as a result. Additionally, those that experience major erosion may notice their teeth feeling thin or brittle, some even get a hole in their teeth. Acid can do all of this, making it important to keep acid levels under control.
Treating your teeth:
If you suffer from acid reflux and have experienced reflux-induced erosion, you may need a bonding procedure. This works well if the damage is to the enamel as a bonding procedure can seal in the dentin underneath. Those, that have experienced bone loss due to erosion, may benefit more from wearing a dental crown on the damaged tooth. With a crown in place, nothing can touch the tooth directly. This is ideal for people that have a hole in their teeth, or a large portion of the enamel is missing. The crown can be created in silver amalgam or ceramic so it works for virtually any tooth.
Adjust your daily habits:
If you drink soda, eat a lot of sweets or acid foods, you should cut them out of your daily diet so that you don’t experience reflux as frequently. This will help to reduce your risk of erosion in addition to helping you feel more comfortable.