Acid reflux disease can be painful and irritating, but it can also do permanent damage to your teeth if you don't take measures to prevent it. Your mouth relies on finely balanced pH levels to maintain healthy teeth, but a regular infusion of acidity can strip them of their enamel and leave them exposed to harmful bacteria. If you suffer from acid reflux, follow these four rules to minimize the condition's effect on your dentistry.
Reducing Your Intake of Problematic Foods and Drinks
Acid reflux is provoked, in part, by certain types of food that are high in fat or acids. These include foods or drinks like coffee, tomatoes, steaks, chocolate and spicy foods, among others. After some time of living with this disease, you should have a pretty decent idea of which foods trigger episodes in your body and should work to reduce your consumption of them. Coincidentally, these foods are often bad for your dental health as well, meaning this step may have double the impact on your teeth.
Brushing at the Right Time
Although you may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately after an episode of acid reflux, this can actually do more harm than good. When acids are swept back up into your mouth, they temporarily eat away at the enamel covering your teeth. Once that enamel is gone, bacteria are able to access the interior of the tooth, causing infections. Brushing too soon can further erode a damaged enamel, giving bacteria an easier path inside your teeth. Instead, wait an hour or two after an episode to brush your teeth.
Balancing Your Mouth's pH
Acid reflux can dramatically alter the internal pH of your mouth, raising acidity to an uncomfortable level while also creating a more hostile environment for your teeth. You can, however, neutralize the issue by occasionally eating an antacid tablet. These candy-like, alkaline tablets will reduce the acidity of your mouth before doing the same thing in your esophagus and stomach, potentially improving your comfort and dental health significantly.
Responding to an Acid Reflux Episode
During an acid reflux attack, the best way to protect your teeth is to take an antacid and drink plenty of water. Drinking water helps rinse your teeth and washes away any stomach acid that would otherwise settle and begin harming your enamel. Chewing sugar-free gum has also been shown to assist in keeping fluids in your stomach where they belong, limiting the symptoms of acid reflux. If you are concerned about how your acid reflux is affecting your teeth, talk to your dentist about other treatments and a more advanced dental cleaning schedule to ensure your teeth stay healthy for many years to come.
For a local dentist, contact an office such as River City Dental.