Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD, occurs when the contents of your stomach leak up your esophagus. It can manifest in a burning sensation in the throat or chest, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the only sign of the disease is mysterious dental erosion, which means dentists are frequently the first to detect GERD.
Acid reflux can strip enamel from your pearly whites, causing pain or sensitivity to hot and cold beverages, discoloration, and even abscesses or tooth loss. It’s best not to ignore GERD if it is occurring.
Specialists are typically hired to help create a treatment plan for GERD, but there are plenty of other options to do on your own to prevent acid reflux damage to your teeth:
Be a smart brusher – No dentist will advocate for brushing your teeth less frequently (and neither will we). However, brushing right after a bout of acid reflux can make any existing damage worse. Consider rinsing your mouth out with water or baking soda instead after an acid reflux episode.
Chew sugar-free gum – This can stimulate your saliva glands into producing more of the teeth-saving fluid. Saliva protects your teeth and can even rid your mouth of harmful acids, thus countering the impact of GERD.
Inspect your diet – There are foods, drinks, and even items such as cigarettes that prompt acid reflux into action. Avoid these items, especially before bed, in order to reduce the occurrence of GERD.
Notify your dentist – If your oral health provider is unaware of your condition, make sure to tell him or her. He or she can help you come up with a treatment plan to protect your chompers, limiting acid reflux damage to your teeth via toothpastes, rinses, and more.
See a specialist – Don’t let your GERD go untreated. Talk to a gastroenterologist about treatment.