Catch-22: Acid Reflux & Antacids Damage Teeth, Which Is Worse?

Catch-22: Acid Reflux & Antacids Damage Teeth, Which Is Worse?

Both Acid Reflux And Antacids Damage Your Teeth

Over one-half of Americans will take antacids in their lifetime. They seem harmless; they taste like candy, are available everywhere, and most importantly, treat the uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux. But these seemingly innocuous little tablets can quickly spell disaster for your teeth. The problem is, so can acid reflux. Which one is worse?

How Acid Reflux Damages Your Teeth

As the name implies, stomach acid is highly acidic. When some of this acid goes through your throat and onto your teeth, it can slowly damage the enamel on the teeth. Left untreated, the backwash of acid can cause something called acid reflux-induced erosion, which can cause permanent damage to the teeth and the structures that support them.

How Antacids Lead To Tooth Decay

Antacids damage the teeth and gums in several ways. First of all, many antacids are high in sugar, which contributes to cavities and tooth decay. This problem is compounded by one of the side effects of antacids, which is dry mouth. This seemingly minor side effect means that the mouth is not producing enough saliva, and thus is not able to deal with bacteria growth as well, which leads to damage to both the teeth and gums. Finally, and ironically, frequent use of antacids causes the stomach to overproduce acid, which leads to the damage above.

Which Is Worse?

Because of the myriad of problems and the speed at which the damage occurs, antacids are considered to be worse than acid reflux, at least for your teeth. But untreated acid reflux is still uncomfortable and damaging, not only to your teeth but other parts of your body as well.

What To Do?

If you have acid reflux, you should take a two-pronged approach to fix the problem. First, consult a doctor about managing the acid reflux, perhaps through changes in diet or medication. Then, make sure that you maintain good dental hygiene practices and go to your dental appointments twice a year. Your dentist can keep an eye out for some of the early signs of damage from either acid reflux or antacids, which include gingivitis, tooth decay, dry mouth, sensitive teeth, discoloration, teeth that look “transparent,” cupping or pitting of the teeth, or rounded edges.

There are also some steps to take at home as well. You’re probably already reducing the acid in your diet, but if you haven’t, it would be a good idea. If possible, use sugar-free antacids. Rinse your teeth after eating acidic food or antacids, and drink a lot of water to keep your mouth moist or the acid diluted. You can also try a baking soda rinse (or drinking a baking soda solution,) which will help neutralize stomach acid in your stomach and clean your teeth. Just make sure you check with your doctor and dentist first!

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Maiden Lane Dental Associates through many years of providing high-quality dentistry has achieved a fantastic reputation. The office environment is relaxing and comfortable. The entire staff is all courteous, friendly and are expert professionals. We are located in the Financial District, NYC. Our patients come from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, NJ and the entire tri-state area. Contact us today to set up an appointment. We are always happy to help each and every one of our patients in the best and most comfortable way as possible.

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