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.