Maintaining good oral health goes beyond remembering to brush and floss; it involves being mindful of your overall well-being. Acid reflux is a common digestive disorder that can wreak havoc on your teeth if left unchecked. But what can be done to protect your teeth from acid reflux?
At Avenues Dentistry, we understand how frustrating it can be to deal with acid reflux, especially if you aren’t sure what it is causing or how to address it. To make it easier to protect your teeth from acid reflux, our team has compiled a list of things you can do to protect yourself and your teeth from damaging effects. If you have recently started dealing with acid reflux, keep reading to see what we recommend.
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux, also referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This acid may make its way into your mouth, creating an incredibly erosive environment for your teeth. Some of the most common causes of acid reflux include:
- Eating Acidic Foods
- Being Overweight
- Stress and Anxiety
While you might not realize it, acid reflux is incredibly harsh on the enamel of your teeth. As the acid eats away at your enamel, you may notice that your teeth are becoming more sensitive, changing colors, or developing cavities more quickly. Because of this, it is incredibly important to protect your teeth from acid reflux when possible.
How to Protect Your Teeth from Acid Reflux
1. Brush and Floss Regularly
One of the easiest ways to care for and protect your teeth from acid reflux is by maintaining a good brushing and flossing routine. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean your teeth gently. Ensure you brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day to remove any plaque, food particles, and bacteria from your mouth.
2. Rinse with Water
After experiencing an acid reflux episode, you should rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. By rinsing your mouth after experiencing this, you can neutralize the acid and wash away any residue. This rinse should help you reduce the impact of the acid on your teeth, preventing any unnecessary damage.
3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing sugar-free gum is a wonderful way to stimulate saliva production, which can help your mouth neutralize the acids from an acid reflux episode. Saliva also does a wonderful job of helping to mineralize your enamel, which is especially important if you want to protect your teeth from acid reflux. Choose a gum with xylitol to ensure you aren’t adding sugar to an already corrosive environment.
4. Wait Before Brushing
While you might believe you should brush your teeth immediately after an acid reflux episode, this may cause more harm than good. The acid from the attack can soften your enamel, and brushing too soon can lead to further damage. If you want to protect your teeth from acid reflux, wait at least 30 minutes after an attack to brush.
5. Elevate Your Head While Sleeping
Gravity does play a role in the acid reflux you experience and can be an incredibly helpful tool in preventing an attack while you are sleeping. While we know it might not be the most comfortable at first, you should attempt to sleep with your head elevated at least six inches to reduce the likelihood of experiencing an attack while you sleep.
6. Watch Your Diet
Certain foods and beverages may play a role in your acid reflux attacks, making it an important part of your lifestyle to consider. If you notice certain foods, like spicy foods, citrus fruits, and coffee, cause an attack, limiting these from your diet might be in your best interest to protect your teeth from acid reflux.
7. Schedule an Appointment with Your Healthcare Provider
If you are experiencing acid reflux and the steps above aren’t helping you, it might be a good time to consider reaching out to a trusted healthcare provider. They can help you determine the cause of the acid reflux attacks and provide you with health and lifestyle changes that may help you alleviate the symptoms you’re experiencing.
8. Schedule Regular Cleanings with Your Dentist
Finally, if you are trying to protect your teeth from acid reflux, scheduling regular cleanings with your dental team is in your best interest. At these appointments, your dentist can make recommendations to protect your teeth and may have access to in-office treatments that can help strengthen your teeth. Make sure to schedule twice-yearly cleanings to keep your teeth safe from this unwanted damage.
Protect Your Teeth from Acid Reflux with Avenues Dentistry
If you have been struggling with acid reflux for some time, you may be concerned about whether it has been causing substantial damage to your teeth. At Avenues Dentistry, our team understands how important it is to protect your teeth from acid reflux. With years of experience caring for and treating dental conditions for patients across the Wasatch Front, we’re confident that we can also help you through this.
In addition to helping patients protect their teeth, our team offers dental implants, veneers, root canals, and so much more. No matter what service you need, our team is here to help. If you want to protect your teeth from acid reflux by scheduling regular cleanings or have a question for our dental team, don’t hesitate to contact us at our Salt Lake City office today.