If you’re frequently experiencing heartburn and indigestion, you could actually be suffering
from acid reflux. Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a
condition in which acids used in the stomach to break down food leech into the esophagus.
Acid reflux can cause painful and frustrating symptoms such as a feeling of burning in the
stomach, chest, or throat—also called heartburn—and indigestion, or pain in the upper
Unfortunately, acid reflux can have detrimental effects on your smile. How can you stop this
condition from affecting your teeth and gums during the holiday?
Understanding the Effects of Acid Reflux on Your Smile
Since acid reflux causes stomach acids to end up in the esophagus, traces of these acids are also
likely to end up in the oral cavity. These acids are extremely corrosive to tooth enamel. Even if
you have an otherwise healthy smile, the acids involved in GERD can quickly eat away at tooth
enamel, leaving your teeth sensitive and more prone to decay.
While brushing your teeth sounds like it would be the best solution to combating the effects of
acid reflux, this isn’t true. Brushing your teeth while acids have had a chance to attack tooth
enamel actually make it more likely that your tooth enamel will get brushed away. Enamel is
porous and will become softer and more likely to be removed when acid is present.
When You Should Be Concerned
Acid reflux is a concern for people who either do not realize they have the disorder or do not
manage it properly. Treating your acid reflux is going to be key to keeping those harsh acids out
of your mouth and in your stomach where they belong.
Without treatment, acid reflux has the potential to continue to cause your smile irreparable
harm. Once tooth enamel has been removed, it can’t be replaced, although your dentist can
help you manage your tooth sensitivity and missing enamel to help prevent decay.
What You Can Do About It
Your first step is going to be treating your acid reflux, for which you can visit your primary care
physician. Your acid reflux may have an underlying cause that needs to be addressed to correct
the problem, or the condition may be chronic and need to be managed.
Regardless, don’t give up hope. Your doctor can help you come up with a plan to address your
GERD and curb your symptoms while your dentist can help you care for your smile and get your
teeth and gums back on track. You don’t have to let acid reflux ruin your smile this holiday!
When it comes to acid reflux, time is of the essence. Waiting to get your symptoms evaluated
isn’t doing your smile any favors. If you believe you’re suffering from GERD, get your symptoms
evaluated by a doctor and get your smile checked out by a dentist. You can recover from this
and your smile can too!