Gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD or acid reflux, is one of the many bodily discomforts that people have to endure. It is a result of the problematic function of the lower esophageal sphincter, which keeps the stomach acids from going up into the esophagus.
Water brash, chest pains, and heartburn are only some of the most obvious symptoms and effects of this disease. But, it also takes a toll on your dental health. Sounds unlikely? Read on to learn more.
Gastric Acid: A Closer Look
Stomach acid, or gastric acid, plays an important role in digestion and immunity. It activates the enzyme pepsin, which is important in digesting proteins. It serves as a signal for the pancreas to secrete digestive juices to break down the food more efficiently. It kills the bacteria and parasites that come with food.
That’s not all. Gastric acid contains hydrochloric acid, which has a pH level between 1 and 2. This substance makes its way to the mouth through certain conditions, such as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), which may happen at the same time as GERD. When the acid reaches the upper parts of your digestive system, it may cause a burning sensation in the throat, bad breath, and enamel erosion.
GERD’s Effects on Teeth
Highlands Ranch Dental Group says gastric acid is enough to damage the tooth surface. It works by eroding the teeth, layer by layer. Tooth erosion is a normal phenomenon, but people who have GERD tend to have higher chances of experiencing this condition.
Your teeth’s frequent exposure to gastric acid will make them weaker and susceptible to cavities. In other cases, it may weaken the gums and eventually damage them.
Dental erosion caused by stomach acid doesn’t only happen among people with GERD. The same process also happens to those who are suffering from bulimia or alcoholism, both cases that cause people to vomit more than what is necessary. In these situations, it’s advisable that you consult a reflux physician and a dentist.