Acid reflux is a condition which causes acid from your stomach to travel up the oesophagus and into your throat and mouth. When the acid comes into contact with your teeth and the soft tissues of your mouth, it can cause considerable damage. Below is a guide to the damage caused by acid reflux and the steps a dentist can take to remedy the problem.

The Damage Caused By Acid Reflux

Acid reflux damages your oral health in 3 ways:

  • Enamel Erosion: The acid from your stomach will erode the outer enamel coating which protects your teeth. This can cause your teeth to become discoloured and sensitive. Eventually, the soft pulp within the tooth may become exposed, leading to extreme pain and eventual tooth loss.
  • Tooth Decay: People who suffer from acid reflux will often drink sugary drinks or suck on sweets in order to remove the unpleasant taste of the acid in their mouth. This sugar provides the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.
  • Dry Mouth: Your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent acid reflux from occurring. However, a common side effect of acid reflux medication is a dry mouth. Saliva helps to control the level of bacteria growth in your mouth. Inadequate saliva production will increase the levels of plaque which forms on your teeth and gums, resulting in dental health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

The Treatment Options For Acid Reflux

If you have acid reflux, you should visit your dentist. Your dentist will carry out an assessment of your oral health and then develop a treatment plan. The treatment plan may include:

  • Changing Your Oral Hygiene Routine: Your dentist may recommend that you change how and when you brush your teeth. If you brush your teeth immediately after suffering an episode of acid reflux, you could be causing additional damage as you brush the weakened enamel. Your dentist will be able to recommend the length of time you should wait before brushing your teeth. Your dentist may also suggest that you use a softer toothbrush to avoid causing damage to weak enamel.
  • Carrying Out Restorative Dental Work: If acid reflux has badly damaged your teeth, the dentist may recommend that you have veneers or crowns fitted to help to strengthen your teeth and prevent further erosion.

If you have any concerns about the impact acid reflux is having on your dental health, you should book an appointment with a dentist today.