GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a chronic digestive condition that can affect your overall health and your quality of life. Unfortunately, this common medical concern can also wreak havoc on your oral health. Up to 33% of American adults have GERD, which is more often called “acid reflux.” You should know that while stomach issues are highly disruptive, the health of your teeth and gums may be in danger too.
In a person who has GERD, acids from the stomach will regurgitate and enter back up the esophagus. Stomach acids are strong, as they are designed to break down food and help moderate bacteria in your gut. However, when these potent acids make an entrance back into the throat and oral cavity, they cause damage. Acids and your teeth are not friends. Stomach acids can erode the enamel (outer protective layer) of your teeth over time.
Enamel erosion can cause a host of dental problems, including tooth sensitivity, discoloration (the inner dentin layer is more yellow than white), dry mouth, tooth decay and even tooth loss! It is important that you recognize the signs of GERD early in order to prevent serious consequences within your smile. If you suffer from bad breath, excessive belching, daily heartburn and frequent nausea, you may have GERD or acid reflux.
Managing Your Risk
If you have a family history of acid reflux or you use tobacco products, you may be at a higher risk for GERD. It is also possible that the medication you are taking makes you more prone to developing acid reflux. Finally, GERD is more common in women who are pregnant or those who are overweight.
At Red Oak Family Dentistry, we can not only help preserve your smile as you manage your acid reflux, but we can also repair the damage that has already been done. While tooth erosion is an irreversible condition, there are restorative and cosmetic procedures that can rebuild your tooth enamel and help you regain a healthy and beautiful smile despite gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Posted on Behalf of Red Oak Family Dentistry
5345 W University Dr, #200
McKinney, TX 75071