The effect of acid reflux on teeth

Acid reflux, or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition is usually caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, which normally holds the top of the stomach closed. This may cause gastric acid reflux from the stomach to the esophagus, and maybe the mouth. In the US, the number of people affected by GERD tops 20 million.

The PH in the mouth is 5.5 – 6, that is almost balanced. When the digestive acid makes it to the mouth due to GERD, it has a very acidic PH of 1.3 – 3. This will lead to weak and eroded enamel, which will be very susceptible to decay. We often discover signs of GERD during a dental exam. Patients may not present any symptoms in the mouth, however sometimes the oral Symptoms could range from mild sensitivity to a severe pain and discomfort, chipping, erosion and staining of teeth.

In addition to having your MD handling the medical part, life style changes especially diet is very important. Avoid acidic carbonated drinks, fatty, spicy food, alcohol, and smoking, eat frequent small portions, and elevate the head level when going to sleep. Brushing, flossing and using fluoridated tooth paste and mouth wash. Don’t forget to have your periodic visits to the dentist to address any tooth structure damage.