If you have severe acid reflux, you may end up needing a dentist. Since acid reflux impacts your stomach and digestive track, it may seem strange that the two are connected. In reality, it is understandable that teeth suffer due to acid reflux considering that the acid winds its way up from the stomach and into the mouth. Each time you have an acid attack that acid can start to attack and break down the enamel or outer layer of the teeth. This is problematic as enamel is necessary for keeping strong and healthy teeth.
As the acid continues to attack the teeth, the enamel will wear away, leaving you with exposed dentin. This is not a good situation because dentin is porous and contains your nerve endings. Every time something touches your tooth it can also touch your nerves and send a pain signal to your brain. This can create sudden sensations of extreme discomfort and pain. When the erosion proceeds even further, the tooth can start to break down and wear away. Many patients suffer from holes in their teeth and even bone loss as a result.
It is important to have your teeth cleaned and examined several times a year so that you can prevent much of this damage and the trip to a dentist. When you visit our office, we can look for signs of infections, cavities, and erosion. If we find something of concern, we can treat it right away. The sooner we can identify and diagnose any issues with your teeth or gums, the better chance we have of addressing it quickly before it can spread to other areas and create significant discomfort.
In addition to visiting our office, it is important to know what to do at home. For example, if an episode of reflux takes place, you need to rinse your mouth with water right away. We recommend waiting a full hour before brushing your teeth to ensure that you don't accidentally strip away the enamel even further. When it is time to brush be sure to use a soft toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste while brushing gently to remove sugar, bacteria, and the acid.
You also need to visit your doctor and have them prescribe you medication for your acid reflux. The best way to prevent reflux-induced erosion is to stop the acid in the first place. By killing it at the source, you can start to feel better right away while also keeping your teeth in good health. If you do suffer from an acid attack, taking an over the counter antacid can help keep it under control. You can also drink a glass of soy or almond milk to help feel better in the moment.