What does heartburn have to do with teeth? In fact, quite a lot. At Enid Dental Care, Dr. Dennis Morehart observes many kinds of tooth erosion, and one of the most common is that caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as acid reflux or GERD.
Acid reflux happens when the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach opens, allowing hydrochloric acid out of the stomach. GERD describes when this happens at least twice a week. Hydrochloric acid causes painful ulcers in the esophagus and when it gets as far as the mouth it can contribute to the erosion of the gums as well as the teeth and result in dry mouth.
As tooth enamel erodes, teeth become sensitive, discolored, and either pitted or flattened out. Remineralization therapies, such as fluoride treatment, can help protect enamel, but they cannot restore what has been lost. However, Dr. Morehart can reconstruct teeth through methods such as bonding and partial crowns. Patients can lower their risk of acid reflux by reducing their intake of fatty and acidic foods, such as citrus juice and onions, as well as chocolate and alcohol. They may also need to discuss with their general practitioner whether they need to switch out any medications that are harming their oral health.
Dr. Dennis Morehart, Master of the Academy of General Dentistry, operates Enid Dental Care at 2411 Heritage Trail, Ste #4, Enid, Oklahoma, 73703. To schedule an appointment, call 580-237-2213 or visit EnidDentalCare.com and fill out a contact sheet.