Is heartburn or acid reflux something that impacts your day-to-day life? If so, then there is something that you should know. Acid reflux disease and chronic heartburn can erode your tooth enamel.
What Your Dentist Sees
Even if you don’t realize that you’re experiencing heartburn, the condition can cause irreversible changes to your teeth. The most noticeable signs will be shallow divots (facets) on the cusp tips of your very back teeth, the molars. Although many different things can cause enamel erosion, having eroded cusp tips is almost always due to chronic gastric acid exposure.
Other areas that suffer from enamel erosion can occur along the gumlines or the upper front teeth. However, the cusp tips of the molars are almost always the first ones to pop up.
What to Do
Prevention is the most important step, as chronic acid exposure erodes more than just your teeth. It also damages the soft tissues inside of your digestive tract. Rather than treating the symptoms of heartburn with over the counter medication, it’s best to prevent it from happening in the first place. Your doctor may prescribe a medication that reduces gastric acid reflux, or you may simply need to avoid certain types of foods. You may even want to use a supplemental fluoride each night to make your tooth enamel more resistant to erosion and sensitivity.
Not everyone realizes that they are experiencing heartburn. It may even happen while you sleep. If your dentist spots signs of acid reflux, it’s best to see your doctor right away. Long-term erosion of your teeth can damage the function of your smile, its appearance, and the integrity of restorations that you’ve invested in.
Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
If acid reflux disease affects your life, then it’s important that you know it also affects your smile. Undiagnosed or unmanaged reflux disease can destroy your healthy teeth without you even knowing it. In fact, many dental professionals bring the subject up to their patients just after seeing clinical manifestations of the condition impacting their tooth enamel. How does this condition present itself inside of your mouth?
You already know that acid reflux can destroy the soft tissue lining of your esophagus, but did you know it could actually destroy very hard tooth enamel? Most acid reflux erosion is seen on the cusps of the back molars, but it can sometimes be seen across the smooth surfaces of the front teeth as well. If you use a hard-bristled brush or scrub too hard with you brush your teeth this will accelerate the amount of erosion that takes place.
Thin, Glossy Enamel
Etching and erosion of the enamel can make the enamel become thinner over time. This is also seen as a glossy, glass-like appearance as the tooth thins. If this happens, the teeth become more brittle and susceptible to cracking, fractures, or chips during everyday use.
Short Restoration Life
Fillings and other types of restorations may have shorter life spans when acidic liquids eat away at the margins of the restoration. Rather than lasting 10-15 years, a restoration might experience leakage around the edges and need to be replaced sooner than normal.
Seeing your medical practitioner about your GERD or heartburn is important for your smile and your lifestyle. Your dentist can also prescribe a fluoride to use each day to reduce the amount of erosion and strengthen at-risk enamel. Be sure to see your dentist regularly to carefully monitor the health of your smile if you live with heartburn or GERD.
Posted on behalf of:
Springhill Dental Health Center
4620 Spring Hill Ave
Mobile, AL 36608
We’ve all heard that Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) can damage your esophageal tissue, but did you know it could also damage your tooth enamel? While this might not be a surprise at first, what is surprising is how abrasive it is when you consider that enamel is the hardest tissue in the entire human body!
The erosion from acid reflux disease typically causes small, pitted areas on the cusps of the back teeth. It can also cause overall erosion of tooth enamel on smooth tooth surfaces as well. When left untreated, erosion may be so severe that it causes complications with existing dental treatment like fillings or crowns. Not only does the acidity damage the teeth, but it can also make appliances such as braces have difficulty adhering to the tooth. Acid erosion can also occur in patients that suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia, due to the constant purging that exposes the front teeth to stomach acids.
When you allow your medical practitioner to help you manage your acid reflux condition it benefits all of your body. Whether it is by an altered diet, prescription medication, or even GI surgery, preventing acid erosion to your gastrointestinal tract is much more important than you may think. Simply covering up your reflux symptoms with over the counter medication does not correct the problem it just hides it.
While you work with your medical professional to address the needs of your condition, you can protect your teeth by using supplemental fluoride toothpaste or rinses. This allows the fluoride to help add minerals back into damaged tooth enamel, stunting the acid erosion that occurs on a daily basis.
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