Chronic gastrointestinal conditions like heartburn, acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are also known to contribute to oral health problems. This is because frequent back up of stomach acid into the mouth wears away the enamel causing erosion and anatomy destruction over time.
Stomach acid is strong enough to dissolve the enamel directly, or it can soften their surface, which then wears down layer by layer over time. Damage from acid reflux looks like any other kind of erosion wear – the anatomy is flattened, thin, sharp or has a crater or cupping. Because these changes occur slowly and are mostly imperceptible to the untrained eye, it’s important to get regular (at least annual) oral checkups.
Some oral hygiene tips for those who suffer from GI disorders:
- Don’t brush immediately after an acid reflux episode – use a fluoride rinse instead
- You may be prescribed a special toothpaste for acid reflux patients
- Xylitol chewing gum can also help reduce the acid in your mouth
- In addition, your health provider may recommend that you take baking soda or antacids after acid reflux episodes to protect your teeth
Your health provider may also be the first to recognize that the chronic heartburn or acid reflux you consider a harmless annoyance is a more serious health condition that needs medical attention.
The Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center’s board-certified physicians are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of GI problems and their associated conditions. We’ll work closely with you to devise the optimum treatment plan for your unique circumstances. For more information, call us today at (855) 648-4799.
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