Monarch Beach CAMBRA – How Can Acid Reflux (GERD) Affect Your Teeth?
Acid reflux, or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) can wreak havoc
on your teeth. While you might not immediately think of GERD as being a
reason for poor oral health, it may help if you fully understand what
happens with GERD.
Reflux of food and gastric acid is prevented by 2 high-pressure zones in the esophagus – the Upper Esophageal Sphincter (UES) and the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), as well as by means of forward peristalsis. The upper esophageal sphincter is located at the cricopharyngeal muscle about 20 centimeters away from the maxillary dental arch. This means that the acid and food reflux that can be brought up with GERD comes in extremely close contact with your teeth, and can cause erosion due to the acid that comes with it.
Acid is never good for your teeth. For example, a diet high in acidic foods such as alcoholic drinks, citrus fruits and juices, and other sugary products such as sports drinks and flavored waters, can cause more acid in your mouth, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities in the long-run. If you constantly have an acidic feeling in your mouth, or experience heartburn or gastritis, chances are you are at high risk for dental caries (tooth decay) caused by your acid reflux or GERD. It is not uncommon for GERD to cause you a higher level of pH in your saliva, which in turn can affect your ability to keep tooth decay and cavities at bay.
If you feel that you may be suffering from GERD or other gastroesophageal issues, it is very important that you consider having a gastrointestinal doctor or practitioner look into it and diagnose it accordingly. This will allow you to get the proper treatment to control it, and will give you a chance at keeping your teeth and smile healthier, longer.