Nobody likes the feeling of heartburn, especially the sense that something is eating away at your insides. In some cases, you might feel it in your throat and mouth as well, in which case your acid reflux may be affecting your oral health. Normally, it doesn’t have a massive effect on your mouth and teeth, but if it occurs regularly, you will want to be watchful. Here are three ways acid reflux can hurt your oral health:
- Erosion of tooth enamel: Over time, acid reflux can eat away at the enamel on your teeth, weakening it and making it more prone to damage and decay. Signs that this is occurring are thin, translucent sections of enamel, cracks, and worn surfaces. It takes some time for this to occur, but if you suffer from chronic heartburn, it could lead to tooth fractures and decay.
- Dry mouth: Acid reflux can, in some cases, lead to dry mouth. If the acid in your stomach reaches the mouth on a regular basis, it may lead to reduced levels of saliva. Since saliva is an essential part of your oral health, you might find yourself with further complications such as tooth decay or gum disease if it runs low. Also, antacids designed to control acid reflux can also cause dry mouth, so be careful about how much of these medications you take.
- Oral cancer: In very rare cases, acid reflux could lead to oral cancer. The acids in your stomach can lead to precancerous conditions in the mouth and esophagus (a condition called Barrett’s esophagus), so if you or your dentist notices signs that acid reflux is affecting your mouth, it’s important to take action. Fortunately, this type of oral cancer is very much preventable, so it doesn’t occur often.
If you suffer from chronic acid reflux, it’s well worth visiting your dentist regularly to make sure your mouth and teeth are okay. Lynn Dental Care can help you maintain your oral health in the face of acid reflux.