Acid Reflux and its Effects on the Oral Cavity – Part Three

Posted on by Dr. Axelrad

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It’s not only stomach acids that can be damaging to your teeth…
In this blog we will look at how one’s diet, salivary flow and exercise can affect their teeth as well.

Diet

Consider the following:
Acidic drinks i.e. citric fruit juices. As you drink them, they come into contact with the enamel of your teeth, causing erosion. They also add to the acidic nature of the stomach contents, which further compounds the problem.
Apple Sauce: More of a solid than a liquid, but again acidic and damaging to your enamel.
Yogurt and oatmeal: These are both considered healthy ‘super foods,’ but again acidic and damaging to the enamel…who would have thought? The question becomes, which foods are beneficial to one’s health but yet can be damaging to their teeth?
Fruits and vegetables are essential to one’s diet, but we also have to take into account their acidic natures.

Sour candies and soda pop: Both of these are like a double edged sword. They can be damaging in two ways: The sour component in the candies causes erosion and the sugar causes decay. The sourness is produced by acids i.e. lactic and citric.
Soda pop as well, is loaded with sugar (fructose), and is also high in acids.

Salivary Flow

Not only is diet an important factor contributing to enamel erosion, but so too is salivary flow. Saliva plays an important role in rinsing, buffering and remineralizing the teeth. It is common for individuals to develop xerostomia (dry mouth) if they take certain medications. This is quite common in the elderly. The decrease in salivary flow can affect already eroded enamel by causing further erosion and even decay. If the saliva is not present to perform its function (rinsing, buffering and remineralizing), then there will be repercussions. Artificial salivary substitutes are available to help prevent erosion and decay.

Exercise

Yet another double-edged sword situation: Exercise is important for one’s health, but it also increases acid reflux. Let me explain…exercise leads to an increased loss of bodily fluids which results in a decrease in salivary flow, which in turn leads to dry mouth. As discussed previously, less salivary flow increases the risk of teeth decaying. Exercise may increase one’s consumption of acidic sports drinks…those with a ph of 2.7 and 3.2. Both of these factors, a decrease in salivary flow and the acidic beverage itself, act to further hasten the erosion.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are other factors aside from stomach acids that can cause erosion of the teeth. We briefly touched on ph values in the topic of ‘exercise.’ In the next blog, we will discuss ph of the mouth in more detail….until then.

Yours in good oral health,

Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist

For any dental questions or concerns, please give us a call today @ 905.791.3867…you’ll be glad you did!

Based in Brampton, Ontario, Brampton Dentist Dr. Robert Axelrad has been practicing gentle and pain-free dentistry for over two decades. During this time, he has helped to improve the dental health of countless satisfied patients in Peel Region, Brampton and beyond!

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