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
It’s no mystery that acidic foods can damage your teeth. Consequently, acid reflux disease can also cause irreversible destruction to otherwise healthy tooth enamel. You may or may not experience any related tooth sensitivity, but your dentist or hygienist can see visible evidence of the condition. Typically the erosion caused by gastrointestinal reflux disease is evident on the tops of the cusps (on the chewing surfaces) of the back teeth. Shallow divots on the cusps of molars are a side effect of unmanaged reflux disease. If severe, this acid may affect other areas in the mouth, leading to advanced wear or tooth enamel on a broader scale.
Simply treating your disease with over the counter medication is not enough. Unmanaged GERD damages soft tissue including your esophagus and should be treated by your medical practitioner. Prescription medications, a managed dietary intake or even surgery may be needed. If avoiding certain foods isn’t enough, and your symptoms persist for over a week, you should see your doctor.
Dental patients who battle GERD may need to be placed on a supplemental fluoride to reduce tooth sensitivity and strengthen areas of weakened tooth enamel. Let your dentist know how active your reflux has been, so that the integrity of existing fillings and compromised tooth wear can be managed, avoided, or treated as soon as possible. Unmanaged acid in the mouth can cause teeth to break down, chip, wear quickly, fillings to fail, and contribute to bad breath.
Stay ahead of your reflux symptoms. Remember that when you experience problems, it’s your body trying to tell you something is wrong. Simply avoiding it can damage tooth enamel – the strongest material in your entire body!
Posted on behalf of Juban Dental Care
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