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How GERD impacts your oral health

GERD, which is sometimes referred to as acid reflux disease, is a condition that affects millions of Americans. The condition occurs when the muscle positioned at the end of the esophagus does not close as necessary and opens when it should not. This can cause digestive juices from the stomach to come up through the esophagus, resulting in an undesirable burning sensation in the chest and throat. Patients who are diagnosed with this condition often find their problem to be a chronic one that requires lifestyle changes and medication. Additionally, due to the acidity of the digestive fluids that come up from GERD, patients may experience changes in their oral health as well. 

How can a dentist help with GERD? 

Your primary care physician or other medical professional that helps you manage your condition will often have solutions that work to reduce the uncomfortable burning sensation associated with GERD. However, the fluids that come up can cause dental erosion. The acids can break down the surfaces of the teeth and lead to problems such as tooth sensitivity and pain due to thinning enamel. Dental erosion from GERD is permanent, which is why it is important for patients to get treatment for their condition as soon as possible and visit a dentist to determine how much damage has already occurred. 

What are some risk factors that may increase my chances of developing GERD? 

Certain conditions and factors that increase the likelihood of developing acid reflux disease include: 

  •         Pregnancy
  •         Obesity
  •         Hiatal hernias
  •         Connective tissue disorders

Certain factors can also aggravate GERD, including: 

  •         Eating certain types of foods (fatty, fried, etc.)
  •         Taking certain medications
  •         Eating large meals in the evening
  •         Smoking cigarettes
  •         Drinking alcohol beverages
  •         Drinking coffee

Have you been diagnosed with acid reflux disease? 

If your primary care physician or ENT has recently given you the diagnosis of GERD, it may be time to speak to your dentist about how it can impact your oral health and wellness. There are treatment options available to you, and we encourage you to book a consultation visit with Dr. Gonzalez and her team of professionals to discuss ways to restore the smile if damage has already occurred. The office is located at 9818 Pines Boulevard and can be reached by phone at (954) 432-4800 to request a consultation.