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Can Acid Reflux Affect My Teeth?

October 18, 2016
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Posted By: Dr. Elyce Link-Bindo

How Does GERD and Acid Reflux Affect Your Teeth?

Many people are diagnosed with GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) and heartburn every year.  Acid reflux often feels like a burning sensation or chest pain that can wake you up in the middle of the night.  The chest pain can be so severe it mimics a heart attack.  GERD has also been linked to severe deterioration and irritation of the throat.  If the acid in your stomach is so strong that it can cause throat problems, how does it affect your teeth?  Sometimes the teeth are the first areas to show signs of acid reflux.  Stomach acid in large quantities can thin and wash away tooth enamel.  Once the outer protective layer of the tooth (the enamel) is worn away, the teeth are much more susceptible to excessive wear and breaking.  This tooth wear is often mistaken for tooth grinding.  Teeth with extensive tooth wear will often look much yellower as the layers of the tooth are worn away. The tooth wear can be so extensive that teeth can break, become sensitive or wear to the gum line. 

Are there other types of acid reflux?

before photo of teeth | Dentist in Doylestown PA
This patient had acid reflux and severe tooth wear.

Some people have a condition called silent acid reflux where they do not feel the symptoms of the acid reflux even though it is still happening.  Catching acid reflux before it becomes a long-term damaging problem is very important for both your dental and overall health.  Long term acid reflux can lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus where the cells in your throat change and become similar to the cells of your stomach lining.  This change has been associated with an increased risk of throat cancer. 

 

Contact our Doylestown, PA Dental Office

If you think you may have acid reflux, be sure to consult your doctor.  If you think you may have dental wear from your acid reflux, ask your dentist to check your teeth for any signs of acid wear. Contact Doylestown Dental Group to make an appointment with our caring, qualified team!

 

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