Your mouth is the gateway to your body. It makes sense, therefore, that many medical conditions can affect your oral health. A common example is GERD, otherwise known as acid reflux. While you may consider acid reflux a problem of your digestive system, it can also impact the health of your teeth in significant ways.
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux and heartburn are common complaints within today’s population. Whether it is caused by excessive stress, a poor diet or certain medications, acid reflux can be a disruptive GI condition that can present itself within the mouth. Acid reflux occurs when acids from the stomach fail to stay in the stomach to aid in digestion and instead make their way back up into the esophagus. Over time, this results in irritation and inflammation of the esophagus lining. GERD sufferers are known to experience uncomfortable symptoms such as frequent burping, heartburn, bad breath, nausea, difficulty swallowing and regurgitation of food.
How Does Acid Reflux Threaten Your Smile?
Acid reflux is a condition that doesn’t stay in your stomach. In fact, it literally and physically presents itself in the mouth. The acids that are in your stomach to help breakdown food are quite strong and not meant to come in contact with the enamel of your teeth. Many patients who have acid reflux have the telltale sign of enamel erosion throughout their smile. This is a result of those stomach acids lingering on your teeth surfaces over time.
How do you know if you have enamel erosion? Enamel erosion due to acid reflux can cause the following symptoms within your oral health:
- Increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Frequent cavities
- Weakened or worn down teeth
- Yellow or dull teeth (due to inner dentin layer showing through)
Tell Your Dentist About Your Acid Reflux Condition
Because your oral health is so closely linked to your overall health, it is very important that you disclose your complete medical history to your dentist. Patients that suffer from acid reflux may need to be monitored more closely or given tips on reducing the impact of stomach acids on their teeth. Dr. Gilreath is committed to working with your physician to ensure your body health and dental health support each other instead of causing harm. Call today to schedule your consult with Marietta’s most trusted family dentist.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,