Did you know that 60% of adults will experience a symptom of acid reflux or GERD at least once a year? Stomach acid has a pH of about 2 (water has a neutral pH of 7), the ideal pH of the mouth is around 6. When acid is expelled into the mouth it creates a more acidic environment. If the pH of the mouth drops below 5.5 it can cause dental issues (listed below).
What is GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)?- GERD is the chronic symptom of damage to the mucus membrane lining of the stomach and throat. This happens when stomach acid is expelled into the esophagus. If untreated GERD can lead to tooth erosion, dry mouth and even cancer.
Symptoms of GERD - heart burn, regurgitation, vomiting (wet burp), pain when swallowing, bitter taste, chest pain, increased pain while resting.
Increasing Risk Factors - alcohol, stress, tobacco, caffeinated and carbonated drinks, fatty and fried foods, spicy food, chocolate, various acidic or citrus fruits and vegetables.
How to Prevent GERD - do not eat at bedtime, eat slow, eat small meals, do not lay down right after eating, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, raise the head of your bed about 4-8 inches .
Over the Counter acid reducers - TUMS (contains sugar; use sparingly), Zantac, Prilosec(omeprazole), Maalox
See your primary care physician for prescribed acid reducers.
Acid reflux(GERD) leads to tooth erosion, brittle fragile teeth, sensitivity, dry mouth, dental cavities. This is why dental exams are recommended two times a year to monitor GERD symptoms and other dental conditions.