Dealing with the Burning Sensation
Acid reflux is a condition that can make your life pretty unbearable. Gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (or GERD), is more than just a bothersome case of occasional heartburn. And if you’ve seen all the commercials about it, you know acid reflux as a very common problem. When potent digestive acid escapes your stomach and travels upwards, no one has to tell you this is strong stuff — because it burns! And it burns more than just your esophagus — your vocal cords are at risk as well as your teeth!
What Does GERD Do?
When digestion works right, it’s truly an amazing process. After your mouth has done its part by chewing and swallowing your food, it’s time for your stomach to take over. The acid in your stomach is extremely powerful, but the lining of your stomach can handle it. After spending time getting churned up by your stomach, the food and liquids move on towards your intestines for further digesting. It works beautifully, if everything stays where it belongs.
When stomach acid doesn’t stay put, GERD can cause heartburn, difficulty swallowing, a choking sensation at night, coughing, a hoarse voice, bad breath and tooth erosion. Your dentist may recognize this condition during a regular dental visit. Tooth enamel is tough stuff, but so is stomach acid, and you don’t want the two to mix. Children and babies can also suffer from acid reflux, which often wreaks havoc on their emerging baby teeth.
Dealing with Acid Reflux
If you suspect you have GERD, it’s important to discuss this with your dentist or your doctor. Over-the-counter medications can help ease the symptoms of occasional acid reflux, but they’re not a long-term solution. Treatment strategies include ruling out other serious diseases (such as clogged arteries), taking prescription medications, propping up your head while sleeping and avoiding trigger foods such as tomatoes, citrus, certain spices, raw onion, chocolate and alcoholic drinks. In severe cases that do not respond to any of these therapies, surgical solutions are available.
While GERD may be common, and the TV commercials alone prove it is a condition many are suffering from, it is not normal. It isn’t healthy to let acid reflux go unchecked for any period of time. If you have any questions regarding acid reflux and whether or not it has affected your dental health, please discuss them with your dentist at the Placerville Dental Group.