Have you ever experienced having a sour burp? Acid reflux, or the abnormal backflow of gastric acid from the stomach to your esophagus, causes this irritating condition. Gastric acids are necessary to digest food particles for easier absorption, so you can expect that they are strong and potent in breaking down edible matter. So, if they leave the stomach where they normally reside, it can cause discomfort and even serious damage to the body. The regurgitation of acid from your tummy back up to your mouth not only affects your esophagus causing chest pain or heartburn, but it can also cause problems to your oral health, particularly tooth erosion. Even the enamel, or the outermost covering of your teeth, is no match for this helpful digestive substance. So it is necessary for a person who experiences this should take probiotics for acid reflux to avoid these instances. Better yet, here are some effective ways on how to protect teeth from acid reflux, as advised by both dentists and doctors.
What Causes Tooth Erosion?
There are several ways your enamel can get affected and become damaged, even if they are the strongest part of your teeth. The most natural cause may be wear and tear as time passes. Even if you take good care of your pearly whites, the outer covering of your teeth may be stained, cracked, or chipped depending on your food and drink consumption, leading you to sensitivity and teeth damage. Other causes may include any of the following:
- Excessive sugar consumption
- Poor dental habits (harsh or inconsistent brushing)
- Dry mouth
- Eating disorders
- Excessive intake of alcoholic beverages
- Acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
Of these common causes, the most damaging may be acid reflux because, while most can be external factors, this acid problem is intrinsic in nature. The best sign that we can give you to know if you are suffering from the early stages of tooth erosion is hot-or-cold sensitivity. Suppose you feel uncomfortable tingles every time you consume any food or drink of extreme temperatures. In that case, chances of having problems with your oral health, like irritable nerves due to tooth decay, are high.
How to Protect Teeth from Acid Reflux
Since acid reflux is a medical condition that can probably cause the most damage to your oral health, we need to be equipped with effective ways on how to protect your pearly whites once you have an episode of this digestive problem.
Keep a clean mouth and a healthy tummy. Prevention is, first and foremost, better than cure. It is always best to have consistent brushing and flossing habits, as well as regular trips to the doctor and dentist to make sure that your whole digestive tract, from your mouth to your buttocks are A-OK.
Manage your diet. If you know what triggers your acid reflux, do your best to avoid these once and for all. If you can’t, at least consume them at a minimum. Limit your intake of sodas, coffee, citrus fruit drinks, sweet concoctions, and even tomato or oil-based pasta sauces.
Use a straw. You may think, is this necessary? Well, as we mentioned a while ago, natural wear-and-tear of the teeth can also cause tooth erosion. So, if you are unable to forego sugary and acid-inducing foods and beverages, you can opt to use straws for drinks to limit the contact of these to your teeth.
Brush at the right time. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after your meal. The food particles and the chemicals they have can affect the integrity of the enamel, so introducing a potent toothpaste at once – like what you may be using right now for your son and daughter – may irritate and further damage your teeth. Use one that has fluoride to strengthen your pearlies.
Take probiotics. Acid reflux can be caused by consuming foods that are too difficult to digest. As a result, your stomach produces excess amounts of acids to break them down, and these can fire back and go back up your esophagus. Taking probiotics as your provider of good bacteria can help digest the food better, preventing your body from producing unnecessary amounts of acid, thus preventing acid reflux.
Chew sugarless gum. Yes, we must admit that this advice may not be recommended for many people who had just had their dental fillings. However, if you have gastric hyperacidity, one of the ways on how to protect teeth from acid reflux is to chew this. Gums and the repetitive chewing action that you do when consuming one make your mouth produce more saliva, dilute and neutralize the acid, as well as coat the teeth with protective barriers against the acid.
Time your meals appropriately. Make sure that your last meal for the day lets you still have 3 hours before bedtime. Refrain from sleeping or lying down immediately after a meal so as to help the acid settle on your stomach through gravity. Use 2 or more pillows so as to elevate the head while sleeping.
Use fluoridated toothpaste and other dental cleaners. Fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel, allowing your teeth to resist the decay and tooth erosion that the gastric acid can cause.
Rinse your mouth immediately. If you already had an episode of GERD, make sure that you rinse your mouth off of the acids, so you neutralize it at once. Some would recommend gargling water with baking soda, but for convenience, just water to rinse off the taste is enough.
Drink antacids. There are now several antacid preparations available in pharmacies so as to ensure that anyone can have the chance to fight such an irritating episode. Tablets can be taken with a small amount of water, while chewable ones can be left to dissolve in the mouth. Some liquid antacids can also quickly coat the esophagus with neutralizing chemicals like aluminum hydroxide, calcium carbonate etc. Just ask your doctor which type can be applicable and compatible with your health needs.