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Acid Reflux and Your Smile

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Did you know that acid reflux disease can eat away at your teeth?

Living with chronic heartburn and acid reflux disease doesn’t just make you uncomfortable; it can leave permanent evidence inside of your mouth.

With reflux disease, the acids from your stomach constantly come back up into the esophagus, damaging the soft tissue lining. Did you know though that some of those acids also make their way all the way back up to your mouth?

The Evidence

The most classic symptom of acid reflux disease inside of your mouth is the formation of shallow depressions on the cusp tips of your back teeth. When erosion is seen in this manner, it is nearly always associated with unmanaged acid reflux. Other types of acid erosion typically do not manifest themselves in these locations.

You may also begin experiencing thinning of the enamel in other areas of your mouth or leakage around existing dental fillings. Teeth can become more yellow in appearance, have a glossy texture and exhibit more sensitivity than usual.

Fight Back

Working with your doctor to manage your gastric reflux disease is important. Don’t simply try to cover up the symptoms with occasional over the counter medications, as sometimes the acid may be completely unnoticeable. Your primary care provider may recommend a daily over the counter medication or prescription, but be sure to follow their instructions.

When you visit us, we will assess for changes in your enamel and whether or not the erosion has become more advanced. Applying a high-grade fluoride after your cleaning can help remineralize weak enamel so that it can be more resistant to acid erosion. We may also decide to prescribe an at-home fluoride treatment for you to use at night.

If acid reflux can destroy tooth enamel (which is the hardest substance in the entire body), imagine what it can do to the soft tissues that line your esophagus and stomach. Let us know if you’ve experienced any symptoms of heartburn so that we can be sure to assess for signs of enamel erosion during your clinical exam.

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