Dental erosion has been a major concern for both dentists and their patients for over 200 years. Studies dating back that far report dental erosion as a result of various industrial hazards, specifically in cases where employees worked with acidic aerosols. Recently, dental erosion has been linked to many food and drinks that we indulge in daily, including pickles, lemons, sodas, and starchy, sugary treats. Acid-reflux erosion is yet another condition that results in significant loss of the tooth’s structure. According to a peer-reviewed journal entitled General Dentistry , acid-reflux erosion is a condition in which the contents of the stomach reflux into the mouth, causing damage to the teeth.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that upwards of seven million people deal with serious acid reflux each day. However, the lead author of the General Dentistry study, David Lazarchik, DMD, adds that “patients often are not aware of the damage that reflux-induced erosion has caused to their teeth until it has reached an advanced stage of destruction.”
The acidity of a substance is generally measured using the potential of hydrogen, or pH. The potential is assessed using a scale from 0 to 14. A solution with a lower pH will have a higher concentration of acid. If the substance has a higher pH, it is more alkaline, or non-acidic.
Dr. Lazarchik explains that “Dental enamel begins to dissolve at a pH of 5.5. Because stomach acid has an extremely low pH of 2.0, it has the potential to cause significant chemical erosion.”
Individuals should be aware that many common habits, foods, and drinks are proven to cause acid reflux and could potentially be damaging their teeth. These include foods that are fatty, fried, or spicy as well as dairy products and citrus fruit and beverage.
AGD Vice President, Fares Elias, DDS, FAGD, says that there is more to protecting your teeth than just establishing healthy habits. “When visiting a general dentist, it is important to make him or her aware of any medical conditions and medical history in general.”
Dr. Elias, who has experienced acid reflux himself, goes on to explain that, “In some cases, other medical conditions, not directly related to your oral health, may be the cause for problems associated in the mouth. Treating reflux-induced erosion without treating and preventing the medical condition that causes the erosion may only lead to more severe problems for your oral health in the future.”
If You Are Diagnosed with Acid Reflux-Induced Erosion:
·Avoid highly acidic foods and other foods that are known to cause acid reflux. (citric fruits, tomatoes, fatty meats, chocolate, caffeine, dairy, spicy and fried foods can all cause trouble).
·Wait 60 minutes to brush following an episode of reflux .
·Following a reflux episode, rinse your mouth with water.
·Let a sugar-free antacid dissolve in your mouth.
·Chew sugarless gum or xylitol gum, candies or lozenges.
Worried about your teeth due to your own acid reflux? If you are looking for a Gahanna, OH dentist, the Sampson dental group is now accepting new patients. For more information about our services or to request an appointment, please contact us today!