A Dentist Office Analysis on How Acid Reflux Can Impact Your Oral Health

Posted on: December 31, 2014

Dentist OfficeIn our dentist office, we have a front row seat to the impact that acid reflux can have on oral health and the strength of teeth. Acid reflux (GERD) occurs when acid moves backwards up from the stomach and into the esophagus and throat. As it does, most people experience a burning sensation in their chest and throat. This can lead to discomfort along with other health issues including teeth damage.

According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, around sixty percent of U.S. adults experience these symptoms on an annual basis. Out of those, twenty to thirty percent deal with symptoms on a weekly basis. This report, put out in 2008, shows that the number of people struggling with reflux has been steadily increasing in both adults and children. If you suffer from the condition, we recommend that you visit your doctor and get prescribed medication to help keep it under control. If the symptoms continue, patients can experience further health issues with their stomach, throat, esophagus, and teeth ranging from cancer to erosion.

In our dentist office, we treat patients that suffer from reflux-induced erosion. In this case the acid that moves up from the stomach starts to erode the teeth one layer at a time. This starts with a reduction in the enamel that protects the teeth. Enamel is essential for protecting the dentin that contains the nerve endings. When left exposed, patients suffer from tooth sensitivity and pain while eating. This can be uncomfortable and leads many people to seek treatment. We can address this issue with a bonding procedure that seals in the dentin and strengthens the tooth.

While bonding works well in the early stages of erosion, it does not work well when there is bone loss. Since the acid wears away the tooth one layer at a time, eventually teeth become weak, brittle and thin. In some cases, holes develop inside of them where in others teeth become susceptible to breakage and damage. The more severe the bone loss is, the more likely that a crown will be used in order to protect and strengthen the tooth. A crown surrounds the tooth so that it doesn’t need to be pulled, even where there is massive bone loss.

We recommend that patients schedule a teeth cleaning and dental exam with our dentist office at least twice a year. Patients that suffer from acid reflux may need to do so more often. This allows us to examine the teeth and determine if there are any signs of erosion. If there are, we can try to treat it and prevent any further erosion from occurring. Whether through a bonding procedure or dental crowns, we may recommend taking preventative steps instead of waiting until the damage becomes severe. This can ensure that you remain comfortable and don’t suffer needlessly.

In the meantime, we suggest visiting the doctor to receive a prescription that can help to control the acid. By keeping the acid levels low, you will become more comfortable overall while also reducing the risk to your teeth.

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