What is the Impact of Acid Reflux on Dental Health?

Acid reflux, often known as heartburn, affects millions of people worldwide. While acid reflux’s primary symptoms are digestive, it can also have a substantial influence on dental health. Dentist in Houston, TX emphasize the importance of understanding the impact of acid reflux on dental health which is essential for a healthy smile.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux occurs when the stomach’s acidic contents run backward into the esophagus, producing pain and irritation. This backflow of stomach acid might be caused by a weaker or relaxed lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that serves as a barrier between the esophagus and the stomach. Common acid reflux symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, chest discomfort, trouble swallowing, and a foul taste in the mouth.

The Impact of Acid Reflux on Dental Health

The acidic nature of stomach acid can wreak havoc on tooth enamel when it repeatedly comes into contact with the teeth. The pH level of stomach acid is highly acidic, and when it enters the mouth, it can erode tooth enamel over time. Enamel erosion weakens the protective outer layer of the teeth, making them more susceptible to decay, sensitivity, and discoloration. Enamel erosion caused by acid reflux can also lead to increased tooth sensitivity. As the protective enamel wears away, the underlying dentin becomes exposed, making the teeth more sensitive to hot, cold, and acidic foods and beverages.

Tooth Decay is another concern caused by enamel erosion. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acids that further damage the weakened enamel, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth decay. Acid reflux can also contribute to gingivitis and periodontitis. It may also cause dry mouth by reducing saliva production. Saliva helps neutralize acids in the mouth, remineralize tooth enamel, and wash away food particles and bacteria. A decrease in saliva production can exacerbate the effects of acid reflux on dental health.

Acid reflux can have a serious influence on dental health, including enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, decay, gum disease, and dry mouth. Understanding the link between acid reflux and dental health, as well as adopting proactive actions to control acid reflux and preserve your teeth, will help you retain a healthy smile for many years. If you have acid reflux symptoms, speak with your doctor to get a correct diagnosis and treatment. Your dentist can also advise you on how to protect your teeth from the consequences of acid reflux.