If you have often heartburn after eating that lasts 2 or more hours, painful sensation in the center of the chest, presence of sour or burning sensation in the mouth you must see a Gastroenterologist and a Dentist, because that might be GERD( gastro-esophageal reflux disease) . Wikipedia definition of GERD is: digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter, the ring of muscle between the stomach and esophagus becomes weak or relaxed, that allows the gastric acid to ascend all the way to the oral cavity.
Frequent asked question: “What the dentist has to do with that? The acid reflux destroys the tooth structure. It starts with teeth sensitivity, the teeth do not have any more that natural shine, they become dull (yellowish) in color and rough, teeth are getting thinner and smaller, you are not enjoying anymore cold drinks.
So, how do we treat that?! It’s very important to detect it in the early stage, a dentist can see that when you go for every 6 months checkups (sometimes people just don’t realize they have GERD). There are prophylactic measures and home programs for patients that helps to maintain and protect the teeth of acid attacks that includes:
- Repeated Varnish application ( every 3 months)
- Usage of bleaching abrasive toothpastes and any bleaching remedies are prohibited
- Use a night guard, the acid reflux with nocturnal bruxism together are causing even more damage to your teeth
- It is not recommended to brush your teeth immediately after meal or acid reflux , the toothbrush harsh bristles with the acidity create double trouble
- Bicarbonate of soda is proven to be useful in acid attacks, it changes the pH in the oral cavity to basic (consult your dentist for further details).
If the acidic damage is done and it is detected late, patients undergo more complex dental treatment: porcelain crowns, dental implants in order to protect the remaining dental structure. Apart from that, patients should change their way of eating, special diet is required that excludes everything that contains acid.
Foods that increase acidity are: chocolate, caffeine, fried and fatty food, red meat, alcoholic beverages, garlic, tomatoes, pepper, etc.
Dr. Irina Bratu
Dr Irina qualified as a Dentist in Republic of Moldova at State University of Medicine “Nicolae Testemitanu”.She completed her extensive three years postgraduate program on Dental Therapy & one year advanced educational program on Implantology and Oral Rehabilitation at New York University College of Dentistry (USA). She is a member of Emirates Medical Association EMA, has a passion for the prevention of oral disease, and works to promote a healthy lifestyle for all of her patients.