Acid reflux is a frequent issue that affects millions of Americans. Commonly known as “heartburn,” it’s estimated that around 20-30% of Americans have symptoms of acid reflux at least once a week.
While mild, infrequent cases are inconsequential, chronic and intense bouts can be seriously harmful to your health, and your teeth.
Take a look at how acid reflux affects your oral health, familiarize yourself with the symptoms and causes, and let’s examine common treatment options.
How Does Acid Reflux Affect Oral Health?
Acid reflux causes stomach acids to travel back up into the esophagus. In severe cases of the condition, these acids can reach the mouth, and can cause serious damage to your teeth.
Stomach acid is extremely corrosive, and overtime, continued exposure can cause tooth decay and infection. Treatments, like dental crowns and root canals, may be necessary with a case of chronic acid reflux. Gum damage is also common due to the sensitivity of oral tissue, so specialized gum care may be required in acute cases.
Common Causes and Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux has many causes. In some cases, multiple factors contribute to the issue. Some of these sources include:
- Stomach abnormalities like hiatal hernias
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating large meals, or lying down directly after a meal
- Eating spicy, acidic or fatty foods
- Smoking and alcohol use
- Excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages
- Taking muscle relaxers or NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen
The symptoms of acid reflux can also be quite diverse, but common symptoms include:
- Stomach pain and discomfort
- Sour or bitter-tasting acid in the mouth
- Bloody or black stool
- Excessive burping
- Wheezing or chronic sore throat
- Dysphagia (throat contractions which can cause sensations of stuck food)
If you have one or more of these symptoms, you likely have serious acid reflux. You should take the necessary steps to treat it and prevent damage to your mouth and esophagus.
How Can Acid Reflux Be Treated?
Acid reflux can be treated in many ways, but lifestyle changes are usually recommended first. These steps typically include changes in diet, ceasing alcohol and tobacco use, and losing weight.
Antacids can help neutralize stomach acid, though mainly for acute cases of the condition. Other pharmaceutical treatments include medications that reduce stomach acid production.
Don’t Let Acid Reflux Compromise Your Oral Health!
If you have acid reflux, it may be affecting your oral health. Come to Magnolia Dental in Greenville today, and ask Dr. Zebro to give you an evaluation of your oral health. With her expert recommendations, Dr. Zebro can craft a custom-built plan to minimize the effects of acid reflux, ensuring that you live a healthy, pain-free life.
Call us today for an appointment at 864-242-2848, schedule an appointment online, or visit our office in Greenville, SC, located at 119 West Antrim Dr., Greenville, SC, 29607.
We look forward to seeing you!