Acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal acid reflux disease) affects more than just your stomach and esophagus. Because stomach acids travel up the esophagus, they can get into the mouth and cause serious dental problems.
Stomach acids from GERD can cause damage to the tissue of the esophagus, and they can also erode teeth. Stomach acids are very strong acids, strong enough to break down everything you eat, which means that they are strong enough to eat away tooth enamel and even compromise the bone of the tooth as well. This erosion can make teeth vulnerable to cavities and decay, and can even result in tooth loss.
Bad breath is often one of the first signs of acid reflux. The presence of stomach acids in the mouth and the erosion of teeth and esophageal tissue can have a bad odor, noticeable on the breath. This, in combination with tooth erosion, is one of the symptoms that a dentist might notice in a regular dental checkup—dentists are often the first to identify signs of GERD in patients.
How can I keep my mouth healthy with GERD?
Following your doctor’s instructions and taking your prescribed medication to control your acid reflux is critical to keeping your mouth healthy. You should also avoid eating foods that can trigger acid reflux, such as citrus, tomato, onion, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods. Eating smaller meals can also help reduce acid reflux reactions.
Good oral hygiene is also essential—brushing your teeth twice per day for at least two minutes and flossing daily. Regular dental checkups can also help ensure that your teeth and mouth are healthy. If not, your dentist can help you evaluate your oral hygiene habits and repair any damage or decay to your teeth.
If you’re concerned about tooth decay or other oral health issues stemming from acid reflux, schedule an appointment with Dr. Mogren to discuss your concerns and ensure that your mouth and teeth are healthy.