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Did you know that heartburn and acid reflux can have damaging effects on your dental health? If you taste acid backflow or have heartburn more than 2x per week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD—and it can dissolve your teeth enamel.

GERD becomes an issue when the door of muscle at the end of your esophagus stays open, or doesn’t close properly all the time, and digestive fluids flow back up into the mouth or throat. This causes the burning feeling in the chest and/or the bad taste in the mouth.

Untreated, there are multiple health issues at play that accompany GERD. Not only is it uncomfortable, but if it persists for a long period you can get certain cancers of the throat, ulcers, and dental issues. Many times, your dentist will be the first to spot GERD due to the erosion that stomach acid does to tooth surfaces.

Besides a dentist, a gastroenterologist is a specialist you need to get in touch with to help treat the condition. Until then, take heed of the below advice.

-Contrary to what you might think, you should not brush your teeth if you experience a reflux episode. Enamel may be damaged more with immediate brushing. Gargle instead.

-Counteract the acid in your mouth by gargling with baking soda.

-Encourage the flow of saliva by chewing sugarless gum. Saliva neutralizes acid in your mouth.

-Use mouthwash and toothpaste with fluoride to reduce the risk of enamel damage.

If you are concerned about GERD, call Dr. Claire Black for more information and an evaluation. Please contact Hendersonville Dentistry to make an appointment at: 828-692-3933, or come by our office in Hendersonville, North Carolina.