GERD and Tooth Decay

For individuals diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Acid Reflux Disease, or GERD, many are surprised to learn that their oral health could be at risk. In fact, Colgate explains that dentists are often the first health care professionals to notice a potential acid reflux problem with a patient. One of the first things that dentists notice is tooth erosion. Upon speaking with a patient, the dentist might discover that the patient has a history of sinus infections, heartburn, difficulty swallowing, coughing, hoarseness and/or bad breath.

Acid reflux (GERD) causes stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus, and this usually happens when a person overeats, or when they eat specific trigger foods and beverages. Some of these include tomatoes, citrus foods, raw onions, spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol and coffee. To help manage acid reflux, individuals are usually prescribed a medication or anti-acid. In addition, physicians might recommend avoiding certain foods and eating smaller portions throughout the day.

For more serious cases of GERD, stomach acids not only reach the esophagus, they back up into the mouth and “splash” onto the surfaces of back teeth. With time, acids erode tooth enamel, which is the protective coating over teeth. Though the enamel is remarkably tough, it is especially vulnerable to acidic environments. Thus, when repeatedly exposed to stomach acids, the enamel softens and begins to demineralize. This exposes the delicate parts of a tooth, and puts them at risk for decay.

If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, or if you are suffering from a medical condition that is causing acid reflux or vomiting, it’s important to let your dentist know. It’s also a good idea to commit to regular dental visits to keep your oral health in check.

Safeguard Your Oral Health With Preventive Dental Checkups

Routine dental checkups are a vital component of a preventive dental health plan. What’s more, they are the best way to safeguard oral health and help patients save time, money and pain associated with serious dental problems.

As a trusted source for thorough, professional and affordable dental care in Manhattan, Group Health Dental proudly serves Chelsea and surrounding neighborhoods. Call today to schedule your dental checkup.

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