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The Effects of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease on Dental Health

Posted on 10/31/2023 by Weo Admin
Woman holding stomach at Vancouver Emergency DentistGastroesophageal reflux is a disorder (GERD) that can substantially impact your oral health. Stomach acid flowing back into the mouth erodes tooth enamel, causing sensitivity and decay. Understanding the connections between GERD and dental problems leads to better management.

Acid Erosion of Tooth Enamel

With GERD, gastric acid refluxes into the esophagus and mouth. Prolonged contact from recurrent reflux episodes softens and progressively dissolves tooth enamel through an acid attack. This exposes sensitive dentin underneath, making teeth painfully prone to hot, cold, and sweets. Acid also impedes remineralization.

Enamel erosion increases the risk of tooth fracture and extensive decay, requiring restoration. Making matters worse, many GERD patients also suffer from dry mouth, reducing saliva's buffering capacity.

Preventing Dental Complications

Careful at-home dental care plus working with your dentist can minimize GERD-related damage. Using a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste avoids enamel wear during brushing. Rinsing with baking soda solution neutralizes oral acidity. Avoiding brushing immediately after reflux lessens abrasion to exposed dentin.

Your dentist may apply resin sealants or bonding to shield eroded areas or recommend prescription-strength fluoride gels. Controlling GERD symptoms with medications and dietary changes helps reduce acid exposure.

Dental Erosion Signaling GERD

Sometimes enamel erosion signifies undiagnosed GERD, especially with otherwise good oral hygiene. If the cause of deterioration is not apparent, discuss symptoms with your physician. Prompt GERD diagnosis allows treatment before substantial dental restoration is needed.

Communication is Key

Patients with GERD should inform their dentist to customize preventive strategies and monitor for damage. In turn, dentists noticing erosion characteristics of acid reflux will advise patients to see their doctor to address potential GERD. This interdisciplinary care pathway results in the best dental and medical outcomes.

Knowing the interplay between GERD and oral health empowers patients. Staying vigilant and working closely with your healthcare providers helps safeguard your teeth and smile from preventable acid damage.
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