Acid reflux, also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition that effects at least one out of five (20%) of adult Americans. However, some estimates place the percentage at closer to 30%. Without question, it is one of the most common gastro-intestinal disorders.
While the underlying causes of Acid Reflux are not fully understood, the term itself is easily understood by breaking down the word “reflux” which has the basic meaning of “to flow back” and this is exactly what happens–the acid that should stay in the stomach flows back up the esophagus and even into the mouth.
When this mix flows back, the wrong way, into the esophagus it can be quite uncomfortable and even painful–resulting in heartburn, a burning in the chest, difficulty in swallowing and other very unpleasant sensations.
Treatments for GERD, or acid reflux, are commonly through the use of drugs or OTC medications, such as antacids or histamine blockers. Then there are surgical treatments and, of course, dietary and lifestyle changes.
But while such treatments focus upon and address the acid backflow, rarely is there much mentioned about treating the highly destructive effect of GERD upon your teeth. When this highly acidic mixture hits the mouth, the result can be a highly destructive erosion of your teeth.
The acid in your stomach is very powerful with a pH value between 1 and 2. This is pretty strong stuff and absolutely necessary in order to break down food so it can be digested and put to use in your body. To deal with this super high level of acidity, the stomach has had to evolve a protective mechanism to survive. This is done by the secretion of mucus that forms an effective defensive layer.
This is all fine in the stomach but this is a real problem when these acids flow up the esophagus, especially when it comes to your teeth.
The tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body. But even so, it begins to soften and erode (dissolving and demineralizing) as pH levels drop below 5.5–so you can just imagine the damage done by stomach acids with a pH level below 2.
Using saliva, the body can neutralize acids in your mouth and can even remineralize and repair enamel erosion to a degree. But, in the case of acid reflux, when the exposure is ongoing and extended over time, then the saliva cannot keep up. The result is permanent and serious damage to your teeth.
It is no wonder that individuals that suffer from GERD are often found to experience significant enamel and tooth erosion. This leads to the development of gum disease and overall poor oral health. Unfortunately, this health issue is not confined to your mouth but poor oral health is linked to multiple, serious physical ailments and diseases.
Bottom line, if you suffer from acid reflux and/or GERD then you are likely taking steps to moderate the symptoms and hopefully making dietary changes. But you also should consider the negative impact on your teeth and gums.
It is very, very important that you take steps to protect your teeth from acid damage. And equally important that you take steps, as possible, to repair the damage and restore your teeth to the best condition possible.
This article is intended to bring your attention to the damage done to your teeth by acid reflux and GERD.
Now to take action: Here is a link to another article laying out steps you can take to protect your teeth and gums from acid reflux and GERD, read on and find out more!