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Does Stomach Acidity or Acid Reflux Cause Teeth Sensitivity?

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Teeth Sensitivity
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If you suffer from chronic heartburn or stomach acidity issues, it’s not just the food pipe you should be concerned about. New evidence reveals how the inflow of acid into your mouth due to a disorder known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can seriously damage teeth and cause sensitivity. Continuous exposure to these stomach acids can wear away teeth enamel, a process known as tooth erosion.

How is it that stomach issues damage your teeth?

Your stomach produces natural acids that help digest food in your body. Acidity, also known as acid reflux, occasionally occurs as stomach acid moves up the food pipe. The recurrent, a more serious form of acid reflux is called Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In this condition, gastric acids enter your mouth throughout the day and when you’re sleeping. The acid from the stomach is potent enough to erode the enamel on the inner surfaces of the teeth, as well as the chewing surfaces.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The most common symptom reported by my patients is sensitivity when drinking hot or cold beverages. You may also notice yellow discoloration of teeth or find that your fillings have changed colour. In extreme cases, they have also reported with cavities and abscess.

How can you protect your teeth if you have acidity?

1. Keep the acid reflux under check:

Visit your specialist in gastroenterology to treat the underlying cause. Your doctor may advise you on ways to control your acid reflux so that the acid does not reach your teeth in the first place.

2. Chew sugar-free gum:

Chewing sugar-free gum will increase the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize the acids in your oral cavity.

3. Fluoride toothpaste:

Prescription or over-the-counter fluoride and de-sensitizing toothpaste may help strengthen dental enamel.

4. Diet modification:

Eating certain foods is believed to increase the amount of acid in the stomach, which can lead to signs of acid reflux and heartburn. Avoiding these foods can help to reduce the symptoms.

5. Avoid brushing your teeth after an acid reflux episode or acidic meal:

Wait an hour or two, and then brush with a soft toothbrush. Acidic food weakens the tooth enamel, so you shouldn’t contribute to enamel loss by rubbing aggressively in its softened state.

6. Good dental care:

See the dentist on a regular basis, at least once in six months.  He or she will suggest ways to prevent enamel erosion and strengthen it. Your dentist may also recommend treatments to restore the tooth if there is more severe damage.

The easiest way to manage enamel erosion is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of acid reflux and erosion of the enamel, a combination of medical and dental approaches as well as nutritional and lifestyle changes can help you tide over this uncomfortable situation.

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