How Your Heartburn Could Be Affecting your Teeth

gastric acid

How Your Heatburn Could Be Affecting Your Teeth

Acid reflux or GERD has become a common problem with many people.  With long work days, crazy schedules and constantly being on the go, the problem seems to be affecting more and more people every day. What many people don’t think about, as heartburn seems to be a common phenomena,  is that the cause of heartburn is from acid and that acid can effect their teeth.

What Is Acid Reflux or GERD?

When you ingest food, the food travels down the esophagus into the stomach.  On its way down a valve (lower esophageal sphincter) opens letting food pass and closes once the food is through.  Acid reflux is caused when the valve( at the entrance of your stomach opens after the food has entered your stomach.  This opening allows stomach acid to climb up your esophagus permitting an array of negative symptoms to happen within your body.  Most commonly heartburn.  If symptoms occur more than twice per week, it’s time to see your doctor.  This is a symptom of acid reflux symptoms or GERD

What Causes Acid Reflux of GERD?

There are many things that can attribute to the onset of acid reflux or GERD.  One of the most common causes is a hiatal hernia. Having a hiatal hernia can allow acid to move up into your esophagus inducing symptoms of heartburn.

There are many other risk factors that can contribute to the disease.  For Example:

  • Eating to Quickly
  • Eating a large meal then laying down
  • Overweight or Obese
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or blood pressure medications
  • Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and carbonated drinks
  • Spicy, fried foods, fatty meets

How Can Acid Reflux or GERD Affect my Teeth?

As you read earlier, acid reflux or GERD symptoms not under control can travel stomach acid up your esophagus and into the back of your mouth. Once stomach has reached your mouth it has the potential to create much damage to your teeth. To put this into perspective, pH level measures the acidity of a substance on a scale of 0-14.  The lower the number the higher the concentration of acid in the substance.  Stomach acid provides a pH level of 2.0.  The pH level needed to erode dental enamel is 5.5.  This makes stomach acid a big concern for the health of your teeth.

If you feel you are suffering from regular heartburn, please talk about it with Dr. J.C. Duncan during your next dental visit.  There are many life style changes or medication available to help control acid reflux or GERD symptoms.  Our goal is to make sure we keep you and your teeth healthy.  Your dentist is part of your medical team to keep you smiling and healthy.



Cavities Can Be Contagious!

kissing- cavities The next time you are on a date, you might want to think twice before puckering up for that goodnight smooch.  At least not until you can get a full dental history on your new suitor.  With so many things to worry about to keep yourself healthy, is it even possible we need to think twice about that first passionate kiss in fear of catching a cavity?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Just like colds and flu’s, studies have shown that cavities and gum disease are contagious and can be transmitted through saliva. With that being said; if your partner has gum disease or untreated cavities, a passionate kiss can exchange those damaging bacteria from their mouth to yours.  Those same bacteria will then attack your teeth.

There is a Silver Lining. To reduce the risk, it is recommended that an emphasis on good oral hygiene be practiced.  Frequent flossing and brushing is necessary to rid your mouth of harmful bacteria.  Drinking lots of water and chewing sugar-free gum is also helpful as it promotes saliva and washes away plaque and bacteria.

As for your partner, a trip to the dentist is warranted to get their mouth healthy again.  It is also important to emphasis maintaining good oral hygiene practices. Make sure you convey to them that their neglected dental care can affect their overall health.  Your dental health is directly related to your overall health.  A healthy mouth can work in your favor to an overall healthy you.


J.C. Duncan, DDS, FAGD


J.C. Duncan Family Dentistry
103 Commerce Center Drive Suite 101
Huntersville, NC 28078

Phone: (704) 266-1486
Fax: (704) 948-1969
Email: Click here to email our office

Monday 8:00 to 5:00 lunch 1:00 to 2:00
Tuesday 7:00 to 2:00
Wednesday 8:00 to 5:00 lunch 1:00 to 2:00
Thursday 7:00 to 2:00

Important Facts about Oral Cancer Everyone Should Know!

Important facts everyone should know

  • The primary cause of oral cancer is smoking.
  • 30,000 cases are diagnosed in the US each year.
  • About 9,000 die from oral cancer per year.
  • 95% occur among people over 40 years old.
  • Average age is 60 years old.
  • 50% survival rate
  • 1 person dies per hour in the U.S. alone from oral cancer.
  • Oral cancer represents approximately 4% of all cancers and 2% of all cancer deaths in the US.

According to the CDC, over 25,000 to 30,000 new cases of oral and pharyngeal cancer is diagnosed and over 8,000 deaths occur due to oral cancer. It has been found to be more common in African American males. There is only a fifty percent (50%) survival rate and the methods used to treat oral cancers have been quite expensive and do have a disfiguring result.

Factors that have found to cause an increase in oral cancers are smoking, drinking, and smokeless tobacco. Smoking and alcohol consumption together greatly increase the risk factors.

Factors that increase survival rate – Early detection is the key.

Rate of Oral Cancers- Approximately 70-80% of oral cancers are caused by smoking.

Average Age – 95% of oral cancers occur in people over forty.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing food.
  • A thickening, lumpy feeling in mouth, throat, or tongue.
  • Any red or white lesions that stay for long periods of time.
  • Unhealing sores.
  • Sores that tend to bleed easily.


The major thing for each patient to remember with all cancers, especially oral cancer, is early detection. Most early signs are painless and can only be found by a trained specialist such as your dentist. Regular check-ups and oral cancer screenings reduce the risks of severe problems.

Call J.C. Duncan DDS FAGD to schedule your annual screening. Early prevention is the key.


Information provided by:

NYC Sugary Drink Ban Good For Athletes too?

If you’re a New Yorker, you have less than six months left to enjoy a super-sized sugary drink. The New York City Board of Health has just passed Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban sugary drinks (sodas, teas, and sports drinks) over 16 ounces in fast-food joints, stadiums, movie theaters, and other restaurants and eateries serving prepared foods.

“This is the single biggest step any city, I think, has ever taken to curb obesity,” said Bloomberg after the ban passed. “It’s certainly not the last step that lots of cities are going to take, and we believe that it will help save lives.”

According to the NYC Department of Health, over half of New York City residents are now overweight or obese. In the Bronx, this number climbs to 70%. The City calculates that if everyone drinking 20-oz sugary drinks switched to 16-oz, the city would “save” about 2.3 million pounds per year.

Bloomberg has been a longtime activist for his city’s health, which is apparently on a downward trajectory. Smoking in public places, trans fats, salt, and now sugar have all fallen victim to various bans since Bloomberg has been in office. But despite initial backlash on the bans, Bloomberg’s New York has become almost like a model system for the other cities across the country, which have often instated similar bans after seeing the effects of Bloomberg’s. McDonald’s announced that they will be posting calories on menu boards across the nation.

The Times reported that its own poll revealed that about six out of 10 New Yorkers are not behind the Bloomberg sugar ban.

After reading this article on, it made us think about the positive effect a ban like this could have on TEETH!

 What Do Sugary Drinks do to your teeth?

Even for those people who are NOT obese, sugary drinks can present great damage! According to recent studies, even Athletes can also benefit from a sugary drink ban:  
People who regularly guzzle sports drinks designed to replenish energy and minerals may risk damaging their teeth, suggests a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

A British dentist analyzed the acidity of eight sports drinks after seeing a 23-year old runner with severely eroded front teeth who quenched his thirst with sports drinks.

All eight drinks were below the normal “safe” pH of 5.5; in other words, the drinks are too acidic. Any level below the pH of 5.5 can promote tooth erosion.

Upon hearing of the study, researchers at Baptist Hospital Dental Center in Miami decided to test the three most popular sports drinks in this country: Gatorade®, Powerade® and All Sport®.

Laboratory technicians at the dental center measured the pH levels of each drink using the standard litmus paper test. Each drink had pH levels of three, indicating a high level of acidity.

The researchers caution that because sports drinks have low pH levels, it does not mean these drinks should be avoided. In fact, sports drinks have high pH levels because they are loaded with minerals that replenish the body’s supply lost during exercise.

The Chicago Dental Society urges athletes to use sports drinks in the following fashion.

  • Use sports drinks in moderation; also use fruit juices or soft drinks in moderation because they have the same potential to erode teeth. Water is the best drink for light workouts in which less body fluids are lost.
  • Dilute sports drinks with water.
  • Drink sports drinks while they are cold. Warm temperatures speed erosion.
  • If possible, use a straw to reduce contact between the drink and teeth. Do not hold the drink in your mouth or swish it around.
  • Do not brush your teeth immediately after consuming a sports drink. The acid in sports drinks makes teeth softer and brushing can cause protective enamel to be lost.

The Chicago Dental Society strongly advises athletes to consider water as the logical thirst quencher.

Contact J.C. Duncan Family Dentistry if you are ready maintain a healthy smile!

103 Commerce Center Drive Suite 101
Huntersville, NC 28078
(704) 948-1300