Acid reflux is a common condition where the acid from the stomach flows upward into the oesophagus and the mouth. Severe cases are referred to as GERD.  Stomach acids irritate and inflame the tissues of the oesophagus, while in the mouth there is an increase in enamel erosion.
 
Cavities in teeth start at a pH level of 5.5, but stomach acid is very low at 2.0. Constant exposure to these acids dissolve the enamel aggressively while the person is often unaware of the damage occurring.  Teeth will be prone to chipping, increased wear, decay, and sensitivity.  Signs and symptoms include:
 
· Heartburn
· Difficulty swallowing
· Sore throat
· Sinus infections
· Burning mouth
· Coughing and chest pain especially while lying down
 
Life style can play a major role.  Use of alcohol, cigarettes, diet, medications and poor posture can all aggravate acid reflux.  Dental care professionals can help identify acid reflux and help minimize tooth erosion.  Tips to manage acid erosion:
 
·Avoid food that triggers heartburn
·Loose weight
·Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
·Avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime
·Elevate the head of the bed
·Maintain good posture
·Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush and use toothpaste with low abrasiveness
·Do not brush immediately after an acid episode.  Wait until the natural flow of saliva neutralizes the acid (about 60 min). Rinse with water or let a sugar free antacid dissolve in your mouth. 
·Avoid mint-flavoured products since they relax the valve at the base of the oesophagus, which will release more acid from the stomach. 
 
Call us at Rideau Dental Centre 613-230-7475 to make an appointment.