3 Things GERD Sufferers Need to Know About Tooth Loss

Posted on: 2 March 2016

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when your stomach acid enters your esophagus and mouth instead of staying in your stomach where it belongs. This can lead to problems like a sore throat, heartburn or difficulty swallowing, but it can also lead to dental problems like tooth loss. Here are three things people with GERD need to know about tooth loss.

Why does GERD cause tooth loss?

Your stomach lining is able to withstand the effects of your stomach acid, but your teeth aren't. Stomach acid—with a pH level of 2.0—is more than able to dissolve your tooth enamel. This acid leaves pits and grooves in your teeth that provide the perfect place for food and plaque to accumulate. Cavities can then form within these grooves, and if the cavities get large enough, your dentist may have no choice but to extract the affected teeth.

How can GERD sufferers protect their teeth?

To protect your teeth, remember to take your GERD medication as directed. You should also stay away from foods that aggravate your condition, like citrus fruits. If you feel acid back up into your mouth, chew an antacid to quickly neutralize the acid and save your enamel.

When cavities are caught early, they can be easily filled, and you'll be able to keep your teeth. For this reason, see your dentist on a regular basis for dental exams. Remember that cavities don't always cause pain, so don't wait until you have a toothache to see your dentist.

How can you replace missing teeth?

If you've already lost one or more of your teeth to GERD, don't worry because your dentist can replace them. Bridges and dental implants are the main ways that this can be done.

Bridges are fixed prosthetic devices that fill the gaps left behind by missing teeth. First, your dentist will install crowns—also called caps—on top of the teeth that are adjacent to the gap. Artificial teeth will then be attached to these crowns. Once your bridges are in place, only your dentist can remove them. You can care for them the same way you care for your natural teeth.

Dental implants, instead of being attached to adjacent teeth, are attached to your jawbone itself. A titanium post is surgically implanted in your bone, and a prosthetic tooth is placed on top. Your dentist can help you decide if bridges or dental implants are best for your situation based on your overall dental health, your tolerance for surgery, your budget and other factors.

If you suffer from GERD, make sure to take steps to prevent tooth loss and regularly visit a dentist, such as Gentle Dental Family Care.