Is Your Heartburn Hurting Your Teeth?

Chances are that when your chest is burning with pain after a meal, you're not thinking about your teeth. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that no damage is being done to them. If you have frequent heartburn or another digestive gastric acid reflux issue, your teeth may be at risk of significant harm. Here's how.

Stomach Acid

Most people who have frequent heartburn have a form of gastric reflux. This is a syndrome where the stomach acid doesn't stay in the stomach where it belongs and instead migrates back up your esophagus. When it travels, it can cause heartburn, but it can also continue its way up and actually emerge in your mouth.

This condition is serious and should be attended to by a physician for treatment. However, you're likely going to need to visit your dentist, too, as the damage that stomach acid can do isn't limited to soft tissues.

Dental Damage

Teeth are easily damaged by stomach acids. After all, the acid in your stomach is responsible for breaking down each and every thing that you eat. Unfortunately, long-term exposure to stomach acid wears away at tooth enamel, which is the protective shell of a tooth, and it doesn't stop there. If stomach acid continues to make it to the mouth, it'll wear down the tooth's dentin and pulp. Without help, stomach acid and acid reflux can easily cause cavities and even the need for a root canal. 

What to Do

If you have heartburn or think that you might have acid reflux, you should get to both a doctor and a dentist. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and seek treatment. Stopping the acid from coming up will ensure that your teeth and your body stay healthy.

When you go to see the dentist, feel free to explain your concerns. Your dentist will be able to easily tell if there's damage to your furthest back molars from stomach acid. If they find damage, they'll perform any necessary drilling, fill the teeth or tooth, and clean the rest of your teeth. You can also ask about the possibility of dental crowns. They can be useful in acting as a second layer of protection for your tooth, which may help to slow down or stop future acid damage.

Acid reflux can wreak havoc on your teeth, so don't ignore your heartburn pain or your oral health. Seek medical attention and a dentist's help to keep your body and teeth in good shape.

If you are experiencing this problem, pop over here to see an example of some dentists who can help you take care of your teeth.