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November 20th, 2017

4 Things to Know About Acid Reflux

Category: dental health

what is acid reflux hagen

Acid reflux: it’s when small amounts of our stomach acid travel into the esophagus or even our mouth.

Symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn which is best described as a burning pain and discomfort in your throat area, chest area or around your abdomen. Other symptoms include a sour or bitter taste in your throat (also called regurgitation).

Other symptoms people experience include bloating, a feeling that food is stuck in your throat, burping, black stools, dry cough, sore throat, hoarseness for no reason, and more.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is a more serious form of reflux. Although a medical professional can diagnose you either way, GERD includes more persistent heartburn. It is heartburn that is sometimes also accompanied by coughing, wheezing, chest pain and possibly regurgitation. Sometimes the symptoms get worse at night.

Here are 4 more things to know about acid reflux.

#1: Acid reflux can have a negative effect on your teeth.

Both acid reflux and GERD can put you or your child at greater risk for tooth erosion and periodontal issues.

That’s because the acid can damage the enamel—as well as the dentin. Just like acid from foods can, over time, damage your teeth, so can acid that comes from your own body. Stomach acid can also irritate the esophagus.

#2. But you can do something if you have acid reflux!

First, follow your doctor’s advice to reduce symptoms and to get to the cause of your issue. This may include avoiding trigger such as spicy foods, tomato, citrus fruits, raw onions, alcohol and coffee, just to name a few (3).

Next, be sure to let us know! We can help you come up with a plan to combat the acid that may be coming in contact with your teeth.

Even our little ones can get acid reflux! If your child has acid reflux, let us know, including any changes in their medication related to acid reflux. It may even require an additional visit or two to the dentist so that their teeth can be properly watched.

Since kids don’t always know what is “normal” in terms of acid reflux, or not having acid reflux, they might not be able to report that they are having it. Or they can simply be too young to tell you! If you spot any signs, be sure to ask them or take them to their doctor.

A general rule of thumb if your child has a history of acid reflux: be sure to take extra special care of their teeth! After all, a recent student found that kids with reflux are about six times more likely to experience damage to their enamel compared with kids who do not have acid reflux (1, 2, 3). That’s where fluoride and prescription toothpaste can help.

Don’t forget: we can help spot signs and symptoms of acid reflux (and tooth erosion) in your mouth.

#3. Look at your diet if you have symptoms of acid reflux.

Can dietary changes help ease or get rid of the symptoms? In some cases, yes! A first step can be to eliminate sugar from your diet. Then reduce how much soda you drink and cut back on fruit or other acidic drinks. n some cases, if you drink something acidic, you can benefit from rinsing out your mouth after. Another tip: stay hydrated with water, since water (and your saliva) supports the natural way of getting rid of enamel-eating acids.

Other lifestyle factors that can contribute to, or worsen, acid reflux include:

Smoking (just one more reason to quit!)

  • Size of meals
  • Posture and way of sleeping
  • Certain clothes (if they are super tight around the waist)
  • Being overweight
  • Certain medications (1, 2, 3) 

fighting acid reflux hagen dental practice

 

#4. Foods can also ease acid reflux, in some cases.

It’s true that so many foods can worse, or create, acid reflux issues or symptoms. But, your diet can also help take away the discomfort, too.

Foods that can sometimes ease acid reflux include:

  • Green vegetables
  • Many lean meats
  • Oatmeal
  • Non-citrous fruits like melons or bananas (1, 2, 3)

Dental Health For Your Whole Family

Talk to us if you believe you or a child has symptoms of acid reflux. Regular checkups with Dr. Hagen are crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth! Have questions or need to schedule your next appointment? Give us a call at (513) 251-5500.

References

  1. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/gastrointestinal-disorders/article/acid-reflux-a-dental-disaster-in-the-making-1013
  2. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/foods-help-acid-reflux-fd.html
  3. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/gastrointestinal-disorders/article/ada-12-acid-reflux-and-dental-health

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