How Does Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Affect Teeth?

23 Jan 2018

How Does Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Affect Teeth?

Did you know that many physical conditions have a direct impact on your oral health? Gastroesophageal reflux disease is one condition that has detrimental effects on your teeth. Staying healthy and treating your illnesses will leave you with a healthy, happy smile for years to come!

What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to return or flow back. With Gastroesophageal Reflux disease (GERD), your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) may not function normally, allowing your stomach’s contents to flow into the esophagus.

Many people can get relief from GERD through changes in diet and lifestyle. However, some people may need medication or surgery. Foods known to trigger GERD include chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee, or alcoholic beverages. Heartburn is the most typical symptom of GERD and feels like burning chest pain moving up to the throat. Some patients say it feels like food is coming back into the mouth, leaving a bitter or acidic taste.

What are the Risk Factors for GERD?

Specific factors increase the chance you will develop GERD. Obesity, Peptic ulcers, hiatal hernia, pregnancy, diabetes, and asthma are all risk factors for GERD. Additionally, Connective tissue disorders along with Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, which is a condition characterized by high levels of stomach acid, increase the risk for GERD.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Acid Reflux on Teeth?

The reflux of acid back from the stomach back into the esophagus can make its way to the mouth, resulting in acid erosion. Acid erosion takes place when acidity is in constant intimate contact with teeth; it can demineralize, or remove layers from them. Acid erosion on teeth may lead to a variety of symptoms that need to be evaluated by a dentist. As the outer layers of your teeth begin to wear away, you may start to experience tooth sensitivity, especially when you consume hot or cold foods and drinks.

Acid erosion may cause tooth discoloration by eating away at enamel and exposing more of your dentin, which is yellowish. You may notice your teeth becoming more transparent, or looking smaller or thinner than they used to. In addition to acid erosion, GERD patients may experience dry mouth, which intensifies dental bacteria and plaque, leading to an increase in cavities and decay.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

Contact your Prosthodontists, your Restorative Dentistry experts, at Scottsdale Esthetic & Implant Dentistry today. We are the here to answer any questions and to discuss your treatment options. Don’t let GERD hold you back! It’s time to enjoy healthy teeth once again!