Is Your Heartburn Ruining Your Teeth?

Heartburn is a big problem for many people, but it's probably not something that makes you worry about your teeth. You might want to, though, as heartburn can potentially have an impact on your teeth and overall health. Here's what you need to know about the connection between heartburn and tooth damage and how to help prevent it if you have heartburn on a regular basis.

Acids and Teeth

As you've probably heard at some point, the acids in foods and drinks isn't a good thing for teeth. Excessive acids that are found in things like fruit products can potentially damage tooth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to all the bacteria and foreign substances that go through your mouth on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the edible kinds of acids aren't the only ones that can hurt teeth. In fact, the acid that's about to be covered is way worse for your teeth than the acid found in the food and beverages that you eat and drink.

Stomach Acid

Stomach acid -- the kind that your body uses to break down and digest your food -- is terrible for teeth. It wears away at tooth enamel and can break down teeth much more quickly than the acids found in what you eat.

The reason this is a problem is that people with heartburn often produce bile, which is essentially having stomach acid come up from the stomach into the mouth. This can be due to a variety of factors, including having a valve somewhere in your intestines that isn't closing properly. In any case, though, the acid that comes up in your mouth while you're awake and even sleeping could be destroying your teeth without you knowing it.

What to Do

The first thing you should do is get to a dentist right away. If your teeth have been damaged, there may still be steps your dentist can take to protect them and keep them from being destroyed by the acids produced by your stomach. Secondly, talk to your dentist about products that are designed to help protect the teeth from acid. Mouthwash rinses and certain toothpastes are now designed to help neutralize acid, preventing or reducing the amount of damage it can cause your teeth. Lastly, talk to your general physician about your heartburn problems and discuss medication that helps to help control them.

Stomach acid can be catastrophic for teeth. If you're having heartburn or know that you suffer from GERD, get help to protect your teeth.