December 6, 2018
You can brush and floss every day, watch what you eat, and see your dentist for regular cleanings. Yet uncontrolled acid reflux can still put you at risk of dental problems. A visit to your dentist in 75062 is the first step to getting a handle on this common condition.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Like any machine, your body burns fuel. It gets its energy from two primary sources: the air you breathe and the food you eat. Breaking your food down into its basic nutrients is the job of your digestive system, especially the stomach.
The acids produced by your stomach are essential for keeping you alive. But they’re also highly corrosive. Your throat has a built-in safety valve designed to keep stomach acid where it belongs; it’s called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).It’s a ring of muscles that contract after each bite of food makes its way into your stomach.
Acid reflux occurs when the LES can’t quite do its job. Acid finds its way up your throat and can even enter your mouth, where it does damage to your teeth and gums. This most often occurs at night, but it can also happen while you’re wide awake.
Risk Factors for Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can afflict almost anyone. But certain conditions and behaviors make the problem more likely. These include:
- Excess weight or obesity. Sometimes all it takes to relieve acid reflux is shedding a few pounds.
- Hereditary factors. Some of us have a greater genetic propensity for acid reflux symptoms.
- Sleeping or resting positions. Laying flat on your back in bed can make acid reflux more likely.
- Eating acidic foods like tomatoes can aggravate acid reflux symptoms. So can drinking acidic beverages like coffee, tea, and alcohol.
- Eating right before bedtime. Sometimes what you eat is less of a factor than when you eat. Having a meal within three hours of going to bed can cause acid reflux to occur while you’re asleep. Not only can this harm your teeth and gums, it can also contribute to sleep apnea.
What You Can Do About Acid Reflux
Left untreated, acid reflux can cause a range of dental problems, from tooth staining and discoloration to missing teeth and inflamed gums. Fortunately, there are many ways to control the symptoms of this condition and enjoy long-lasting relief. These include:
- Modifying your diet. Limit consumption of sugars and starches, eat more raw, leafy green vegetables, and drink plenty of water.
- Adjusting your sleeping position. Try sleeping in a recliner or consider investing in an adjustable bed that keeps your head above your feet while you rest.
- Become physically active. Not only can this help you to manage your weight, it offers enormous benefits for your entire body.
- Drinking a mix of baking soda and water shortly before bed. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can help to neutralize stomach acid.
- Never using a straw. Some researchers believe that straws can make acid reflux worse by increasing the amount of oxygen in the stomach, leading to indigestion.
- Seeing your family dentist in Irving. Prescription acid blockers can regulate the amount of acid your stomach produces, stopping the condition at its source.
Acid reflux is a significant threat to oral health. Following the tips in this post can protect you from this common condition, enabling you to enjoy healthier teeth and gums while facing the future with a smile on your face.
About the Author
Dr. Rafiq Hirji earned his DDS degree from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. He’s specially trained in many types of advanced dental medicine, including sedation dentistry, Invisalign, and orthodontics. You can reach his office online or by calling (972) 546-4114.
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