You may be surprised to learn how much your digestive health can affect your teeth. If you frequently suffer from the symptoms of acid reflux, it can have a negative effect on the health of your teeth. Not only can acid reflux affect the way your teeth look, but they can put you at a higher risk for dental issues like cavities and tooth erosion. 

Learn more about the effect acid reflux has on your oral health and what our team at Dr. James Ross, Family, Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry in Novi, MI can do to help you. When you are finished reading this post, give us a call at 248-697-2487 to request your next appointment with Dr. Ross!

Understanding Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a chronic digestive condition that occurs when the acid from your stomach moves into your esophagus. Heartburn, commonly described as burning chest pain, is a common symptom of acid reflux.

Another symptom of acid reflux is regurgitation when acid backs up in your throat or mouth. If you regularly experience the symptoms of acid reflux, meaning you experience the discomfort of acid reflux more than twice a week, you could have acid reflux disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

There are certain foods and drinks that increase your risk for acid reflux, including:

  • Citrus 
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolate
  • Mint
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Coffee
  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Carbonated drinks

How Acid Reflux Harms Your Teeth

During an episode of acid reflux, small amounts of acid travel from your stomach into your mouth. That acid then comes into contact with your teeth, causing damage to the outer layer of your teeth, called the enamel, as well as the layer under the enamel called dentin. 

If you begin to notice any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that your enamel has started to wear away:

  • Pain or sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet drinks
  • Tooth discoloration or teeth that look yellowish
  • A change in the way your fillings feel or look
  • Sudden development of an abscess (in extreme cases)
  • Tooth loss (in extreme cases)

Protect Your Teeth from Acid Reflux

There are several ways you can protect your teeth from the harmful effects of acid reflux. To protect your teeth and get relief, try the following:

  • Chew sugar-free gum to encourage the production of saliva. Saliva helps neutralize the acids in your mouth while also washing acid and food debris away. 
  • Some ADA-approved, prescriptions or over-the-counter fluoride and desensitizing toothpastes can help strengthen your enamel and reduce uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking, and try to refrain from eating three hours before bedtime.
  • Talk to your doctor about ways to treat potential underlying causes of your stomach issues.
  • See your dentist regularly to keep your teeth clean and healthy. 

Call Dr. Ross Today to Schedule an Appointment

Whether you have acid reflux, suspect you might, or are due for a dental cleaning, give our Novi, MI dental office a call today. Our friendly and experienced team will be sure you get the treatment you want and need.

Call 248-697-2487 today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.