Acid Reflux May Be Damaging Your Smile
Acid reflux disease is sometimes referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and is characterised by stomach and undigested food moving up the esophagus. The common adverse effect of GERD is heartburn.
What many people do not realize is that GERD may actually cause serious damage to the teeth. The food forced up the esophagus contains stomach acids that are harmful to the teeth.
The stomach produces hydrochloric acid to digest food. The stomach walls are protected from the strong acid and are therefore not corroded. The teeth are not protected from the acid and the acid will extensively corrode tooth enamel. The combination of stomach acids and acidic/sugary foods will cause great damage to the teeth.
The hydrochloric acid that backs up into the mouth will also lower the pH of the oral cavity making it very acidic. The conditions will not be favorable for tooth enamel which gets worn very easily. Once the enamel is eroded, the teeth will become susceptible to cavities. The conditions will become worse if acidic foods are consumed.
Tooth enamel cannot regenerate once it has been eroded. The effects of damaged tooth enamel will last a lifetime – posing serious dental health issues. Damaged enamel is linked to problems such as tooth sensitivity and cavities. Damaged enamel can also lead to discoloration of your teeth. Untreated dental cavities lead to root canal therapy.
How to Manage Enamel Erosion
Getting an early diagnosis of GERD can avert damage to the teeth caused by stomach acids reaching the mouth. Unfortunately, many people wait almost a year before getting treated for the problem.
There are a number of things that you can do at home to prevent damage to your teeth and even to complement treatment. Eat smaller meals, and eat at least two hours before bedtime.
Make an appointment with your doctor to have the problem diagnosed and treated before your teeth have been damaged.
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