Suffering With Acid Reflux? It Could Be Affecting Your Teeth
How acid reflux can be detrimental for your oral health.
Erosion of the teeth has always been a concern and has become progressively better understood in more recent times.
Our teeth are essential for eating, helping to form our speech, maintaining our facial structure and to give us a lovely smile. Various factors have contributed to tooth erosion throughout history, but most commonly, and particularly so today, food and drink is a big culprit. Sugary drinks and foods, starchy foods, and highly acidic foods all exacerbate tooth erosion. Another factor that can cause tooth erosion is acid reflux which can cause permanent damage to teeth. It occurs when acid from the stomach travels back up the esophagus, into the throat and finally the mouth.
Lots of people suffer from acid reflux, and commonly, people don’t actually realise that it is damaging their teeth. As a matter of fact, here at Abbey Road Dental in St John’s Wood, we are often the first to notice reflux related erosion on the teeth. Patients may not necessarily realise that an uncomfortable problem they have, is actually causing damage to their teeth as well.
The PH scale tells us how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The lower the PH, the more acidic something is, the higher it is, the more alkaline. The level at which the extremely strong enamel on teeth is affected, is at a PH of around 5 to 5.5 and stomach acid sits at a 2 on the PH scale, so it isn’t hard to see why the teeth are affected by that acid entering into the mouth, especially on a regular basis. Certain foods, such as spicy food, fried or acidic foods like high acid sweets or fruits can bring on acid reflux. Each individual will have certain foods they know make it worse.
Preventing Acid Reflux
As a primary focus, if you think you have acid reflux you should visit your GP to get a diagnosis so that they can then give you the appropriate treatment for your individual and unique circumstances. Some underlying medical conditions can cause acid reflux and if those conditions aren’t identified or treated, then the condition will continue to make the person uncomfortable and continue to bring acid up and into contact with the teeth.
If you are diagnosed with primary acid reflux with no underlying cause, your GP will provide you with a healthcare plan to suit your individual needs. They may suggest some or all of the following:
● Avoid eating foods you know to exacerbate the issue. This might be spicy foods, dairy, fatty or fried foods, or acidic fruits. There may also be specific triggers for you.
● Avoid brushing your teeth for at least an hour after you have reflux as you will be scrubbing the acid around the mouth.
● Rinse your mouth with water after you have reflux.
● Chew sugar free chewing gum or sweets to encourage saliva.
● Consume sugar free antacids or medication provided by your doctor.
● Make Abbey Road Dental aware – if we know there is a medical condition that affects your teeth, we can help you treat or avoid the effects on your teeth as much as possible.
Looking To Book An Appointment?
If you want to talk to us about the effects of acid reflux on your teeth, or you simply need to book a checkup, please give our friendly NW8 clinic a call on 02076241603 and we will be more than happy to help.