At Garrison Family Dentistry, we treat the causes of toothaches as well as their symptoms. One of the most common reasons for enamel erosion is acid reflux, which is formally known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Besides damaging the surfaces of teeth, it also weakens the gums and impedes the production of saliva.
Hydrochloric acid is highly useful for digestion when in the stomach, which has mucus lining to protect it. But other body parts are not similarly protected, creating problems when the sphincter separating the stomach from the esophagus fails and acid escapes. The corrosion of tooth enamel is painful and cosmetically unpleasing, and the absence of saliva puts the mouth at risk of infection and makes it difficult for the patient to sleep or swallow.
Remineralization therapies such as fluoride treatments can undo some of the harm, and patients can stimulate new saliva production by chewing gum. (We recommend sugar-free, of course.)But to prevent acid reflux, patients will have to avoid eating large meals before bed and reduce their intake of tomatoes, citrus juice, garlic, alcohol, and other highly acidic foods and drinks. They may also need to ask their primary care provider if they can switch medications which may contribute to acid reflux.
Drs. Matthew Garrison and Anna Jones operate at Garrison Family Dentistry, 14790 N. 169 Highway, Smithville, Missouri, 64089. To schedule an appointment, call 816-532-8778 or visit GarrisonDentistry.com and fill out a contact sheet.