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What Can I Do About Tooth and Gum Pain from Acid Reflux?

Posted by AllSmiles

Man holding the side of his face, for information on dental crowns for acid refluxI was diagnosed with GERD earlier this year. I’ve been on and off medication, but now I am changing my diet and doing other things to minimize the problem. My gums burn, and my teeth are so sensitive that it hurts to chew food. Two weeks ago, I saw my dentist, and she said that if the problem continues, she will recommend crowns to protect them from reflux. Are crowns necessary, or is there some coating that can protect my teeth? Thanks for your help. –  Anatoly from NY


Thank you for choosing our office for your question.

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) is a disorder that causes fluid from the stomach to back up into the esophagus. When the acid backs up into your mouth, it can burn your gums and erode your teeth. Also, medications used to help control the issue can cause dry mouth—limiting saliva production and saliva’s bacteria-fighting effects.

How Can You Prevent Acid Reflux from Eroding Your Teeth?

The based way to prevent acid reflux from damaging your teeth is to get the disorder under control. As you mentioned, dietary changes can help. Avoiding spicy and acidic foods and drinks can help calm your stomach. In the article, Erosion – Stomach Upset and Your Teeth, the American Dental Association also recommends these precautions:

  • Avoid eating food at least three hours before bedtime
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production
  • See your dentist regularly to help protect your teeth

Dental Care for Acid Reflux

  • Fluoride treatment – Your dentist can recommend fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth and minimize sensitivity.
  • Toothpaste for sensitive teeth – Toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, can minimize sensitivity.
  • Rinsing your mouth – Thoroughly rinse your mouth with water after every meal to neutralize the stomach acid and protect your teeth.
  • Dental crowns – Covering your back teeth with crowns will protect them from stomach acid. But over time, acid can seep in, attack your teeth, and weaken the crowns.

Thomas Goebel, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in Moline, Illinois, sponsors this post.