Patients who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can lower the pH in their throats to 2. When saliva reaches a pH of 6, it becomes acid and can begin to decalcify teeth. Exposed root surfaces can become sensitive or quickly decay, causing deterioration from dental visit to dental visit.
GERD develops when the lining of the esophagus becomes irritated due to acids backing up from the stomach. Problems swallowing, an acidic taste, burning tongue, hoarseness, chest pain that can be confused with a heart attack are some of the most common symptoms of GERD.
Remineralization of weakened tooth structure should begin at the first sign of decalcification. Starting to eat smaller meals and waiting 3 to 4 hours after eating before going to bed can give relief of the symptoms of GERD. Coffee, chocolate, alcohol, whole-milk dairy foods, spicy foods, citric acids, garlic, onions and tomatoes are some of the foods that should be avoided to help control this condition.
Over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, which contain magnesium, calcium, and aluminum might aid with relief. Prescription items can include an H2 (acid) blocker or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which inhibit acid production in the stomach. Beware that antacid use can reduce the effectiveness of many drugs (Cipro, Inderal, Capoten, tetracycline, H2 blockers) by delaying their absorption. If your are taking any of these medication you will need to take them 1 hour before or 3 hours after taking the antacid. Long-term use of any antacid increases the risk of kidney stone.
At Desert Smiles, Dr. Don Wilcox's staff can help provide you with information on products designed to treat sensitive teeth and help with the remineralization of affected dental structures.