How Acid Reflux Affects Your Teeth

Mar 21st, 2012 | By | Category: Dental News, Fresno General Dentistry

acid refluxHave you noticed that your teeth are discolored, decayed, sensitive, or worn down despite careful brushing and flossing? If so, you may want to look to the rest of your body for clues, as many health conditions can affect your oral health. One condition that commonly causes the above symptoms is acid reflux disease, which can severely affect your teeth if not kept under control.

What is acid reflux disease?

When you eat or drink, foods and beverages travel down the esophagus and into the stomach. At the entrance of the stomach lies a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter that closes after foods or drinks enter the stomach. When this valve is not functioning properly, it can remain open, allowing stomach acids to rise up your esophagus. As a result, you may experience a burning pain in your chest and a regurgitation of stomach acids into your mouth. This condition is known as acid reflux disease.

How can acid reflux harm your teeth?

When you consume acidic substances such as sugar or carbonated drinks, the acids attack the tooth enamel, which is the hard outer layer of your teeth. Normally, your saliva offers a protective effect and can help neutralize small amounts of acid, but when your teeth are routinely exposed to highly corrosive stomach acids in the mouth, your saliva can’t keep up with the job. When stomach acids wear away your tooth enamel, the underlying dentin is exposed, leaving your teeth darkened, sensitive, and vulnerable to decay.

What are the treatments for acid reflux disease?

Your physician can prescribe medications or recommend over-the-counter treatments to help keep your acid reflux under control. He or she will also recommend lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, raising the head of your bed, not eating large meals, and losing weight.

What are the treatments for tooth enamel erosion?

Once your acid reflux disease is under control, Dr. Denes can proceed with repairing the damage to your teeth. Minor decay can be treated with dental fillings, while more extensive decay or severe discoloration can be treated with porcelain crowns. If your teeth are worn down from erosion, Dr. Denes can help build up the tooth structure with crowns or porcelain veneers, which will also improve the cosmetic appearance of your teeth.

If acid reflux disease has harmed your teeth, call Drs. Alex and Claudia Denes today at (559) 297-1800 to schedule an appointment. Fresno Dental Studio gladly treats patients from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding communities.

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