One thing that people sometimes forget when dealing with the side effects of acid reflux disease is what the acid is doing to their teeth. Often the issue is not even discussed with the patient until a problem arises that sends them, in pain, to their dentist. In this blog we will talk about a few simple steps you can take to help limit the damage that acid reflux can cause to your teeth.
First thing’s first, you have to treat acid reflux disease to prevent tooth damage. If your acid reflux disease is not under good control or you are self medicating too frequently with OTC medications then you are not doing your smile any favors. Take the time to discuss your acid reflux symptoms with your physician and with your dentist. Your doctor may prescribe a medication that will work better and your dentist can give you additional suggestions for protecting your teeth.
Most people will make dietary changes to help limit their acid reflux symptoms. This can also be helpful in limiting the damage to your teeth. Even if you feel better you should still limit some of these foods to protect your teeth from additional damage. Some of the foods include: sodas, citrus fruits and juices, tomato products or anything acidic in nature.
If you can’t possibly give up one of these acidic drinks then at least try not to linger over it. Sipping on an acidic drink all day just continually bathes your teeth in acid. Drink it in a timely manner and then rinse your mouth out with fresh water. Wait an hour to brush your teeth because exposure to acid can temporarily weaken the enamel.
If you have a child with acid reflux you need to talk with your dentist about what would be the best ways to prevent damage to their teeth. Some dentists may want to see your child more frequently, use fluoride supplementations when needed or may discuss placing sealants on their molars to prevent frequent cavities.
With a little extra care you can keep your smile beautiful, even with acid reflux disease.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and graduate work in public health nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.