With advancements in dentistry and a growing emphasis on patient education, there is a greater awareness of the connection between oral and overall health. Thus, it’s no surprise that digestive health can also affect one’s dental health. MouthHealthy reports that frequent stomach upset can cause a gradual wearing away of tooth enamel through a process known as tooth erosion. While this changes the appearances of teeth, it also weakens them, and can accelerate the process of tooth decay. The main culprit here is Gastroesophageal Reflux, often called acid reflux or GERD.
While the stomach naturally produces acids that aid in the digestion of food, those suffering from acid reflux experience a burning sensation in their throat as acids from the stomach travel up the esophagus throughout the day. In many cases, the acids reach the back teeth. Continuous exposure to these acids is enough to wreak havoc on tooth enamel. What’s more is that when individuals take medications to combat acid reflux, a common side effect is dry mouth. In itself, dry mouth is a major threat to oral health, as saliva plays a critical role in neutralizing acids and washing away harmful bacteria.
Unfortunately, tooth erosion is permanent. That’s why it’s important to see a physician regularly to treat the underlying causes of acid reflux. In turn, it’s important to visit your dentist every six months to ensure that teeth are healthy and strong. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to protect your dental health:
- Chew sugar-free gum to encourage saliva production. Doing so will help neutralize acids in the mouth, and will also wash away food particles and bacteria.
- Opt for desensitizing toothpaste to strengthen weakened tooth enamel.
- If you experience acid reflux at night, try to avoid eating or drinking alcohol 3 hours prior to bedtime. This can lessen the frequency of acid reflux episodes.
A Well Cared For Smile Should Last A Lifetime!
At Pure Smiles Dentistry, Dr. Sanil Patel and the team welcome patients of all ages, providing the tools and resources necessary to help them achieve optimal oral health. For those suffering from stomach problems such as acid reflux, regular, comprehensive dental examinations are essential to ensuring that teeth remain healthy and intact. Remember—a well cared for smile should last a lifetime.
Call Pure Smiles Dentistry in Marietta, Georgia today to experience the comfortable and affordable dentistry that you deserve.