Posted on 04/24/2017 · Posted in Information

Acid Reflux and Your Teeth

Back in 2013 we released a blog about acid reflux and how it affects a person’s teeth. Since then, we’ve received multiple comments and questions asking us to delve into this information even further.

What’s the Difference Between Acid Reflux and Heartburn?

This is a common question we’ve heard in our offices. So what is the difference?

Heartburn

This is simply the word for the irritation of your esophagus due to stomach acid.

Acid Reflux

Right above your stomach there is a ring of muscle. Its job is to close right after food passes through it to block the workings of your stomach. However, if this muscle doesn’t close immediately, or if there is something wrong with it and it stays open, the contents of your stomach can flow back up and into your esophagus again. This causes chest pain and, often, heartburn.

What Is GERD? Is It the Same Thing?

They may sound exactly the same, but GERD and acid reflux are actually two different things.

GERD

If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, a much more severe version. When someone has GERD the reflux happens often, over and over, giving the patient constant heartburn.

How Does This Hurt My Teeth?

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, regurgitating acid can greatly harm your teeth. In fact, it can cause the following issues:

  • Sensitive teeth when consuming certain foods and drinks, especially ones that are sweet, cold or hot
  • Discoloration or transparency of your teeth
  • Teeth that are starting to look rounded, or like they have been filed down with sandpaper
  • Pitting or “cupping” of teeth

Silent Reflux

Often, when patients are told they have acid reflux they are shocked, stating they’ve never had heartburn before. However, they do experience symptoms of what is called “silent reflux,” which causes:

  • Hoarseness
  • A constant lump in the back of the throat
  • Constant cough
  • Issues when swallowing
  • Nausea in the mornings

Help for Your Acid Reflux Is Out There

Regardless of the type of acid reflux you have, there is help. Be sure to talk to your doctor so they can determine which kind you suffer from and how to treat it. It is also important to talk to your dentist if you have noticed any of the above issues that are present in people who suffer from acid reflux so they can examine your teeth for any damage it may have already caused.