In a previous blog, we briefly touched on the effects of acid reflux and how it relates to sleep apnea: “Sleep Apnea, Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder and Laryngopharyngeal Reflux,” posted on Feb 12th, 2014.
In this series, we will discuss:
1) What is acid reflux?
2) The symptoms of acid reflux including both general and more specific intra-oral effects.
3) The effects of dental erosion on the teeth…
4) What exactly is dental erosion?
5) What is the cause of acidy saliva as it relates to diet, salivary flow and exercise.
6) Ph of the mouth.
7) Recommendations to protect the mouth and esophagus from stomach acids.
8) Solutions and suggestions to prevent erosion of the teeth.
9) Treatment of acid reflux.
Each blog will cover one or two topics.
What is acid reflux?
In the medical field acid reflux is more commonly known as GERD…gastro-esophageal reflux disorder.
This is when contents from the stomach end up in the esophagus and oral cavity. Acids in the stomach (hydrochloric acid) and enzymes i.e. Pepsin, are in contact with the esophagus and oral cavity for what could be many hours at a time.
As can be seen from the image above, acid reflux is due to an inadequate closure of the esophageal sphincter.
Acid reflux occurs mostly at night. At this time, since we are in a horizontal position and our ‘bodily systems’ are in a state of relaxation, it becomes easier for the acid to reflux into the esophagus and oral cavity.
During the day time, we are in a vertical position and our bodily systems are more alert, making it more difficult for acid to reflux than at night time.
Common Symptoms of acid reflux
Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux, but 10% of people also experience:
Many individuals suffer from ‘Silent’ reflux. People who have the above symptoms but no formal diagnosis have been made.
I think we’ve covered enough in this first blog of the series…A nice introduction to the topic of acid reflux and the oral cavity.
In the next blog, we will look at the intra-oral effects. Until next time…
Yours in good dental 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!
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Dr Axelrad and Staff