GERD, more commonly called acid reflux, is a fairly common issue, but some people don't realize that they're dealing with it. They may get heartburn after eating regularly, but that's not always a symptom.
When acid is able to flow out of the stomach and into the esophagus, it can cause a number of issues. But your doctor may not be the first person to suggest you have GERD—we might see signs of it when you come in for your cleaning or other dental appointment.
How GERD Affects the Teeth
The reason why we often catch GERD before anyone else does is because it affects the teeth. When acid from your stomach makes its way into your mouth, it can damage your teeth. It starts to destroy the enamel on them just like acid from plaque does. If your back teeth have a lot of damage to them, but other teeth don't, it's likely due to GERD.
Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how often you brush or what you eat—GERD can't be treated this way. If you don't stake steps to deal with it, your back teeth will begin to get cavities and decay. You're also likely to face other issues, including the inflammation of the esophagus. This can actually lead to esophageal cancer and other major health concerns.
How Do You Treat GERD?
Treating GERD is not quite as simple as taking a pill or having a procedure. It often means you have to change your diet. You'll need to carefully document what you eat and how you feel afterwards in order to determine what foods trigger your GERD. Common trigger foods include chocolate, onions, spicy meals, tomatoes, and citric fruits that are highly acidic. Eating smaller meals helps, too. You also need to stop smoking and consuming large amounts of alcohol.
If you're concerned that you have GERD and want us to take a look at your back teeth, schedule an appointment today. We'll be glad to examine your teeth and give you a cleaning.