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What is GERD? It is chronic acid indigestion and acid reflux—which can have damaging effects on your dental health. If you taste acid backflow or have heartburn more than 2x per week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD—and it can dissolve your tooth enamel.

GERD becomes an issue when the door of muscle at the end of your esophagus stays open or doesn’t close properly all the time, and digestive fluids flow back up into the mouth or throat. This causes the burning feeling in the chest and/or the bad taste in the mouth.

Untreated, there are multiple health issues at play that accompany GERD. Not only is it uncomfortable, but if it persists for a long period you can get certain cancers of the throat, ulcers, and dental issues. Many times, your dentist will be the first to spot GERD due to the erosion that stomach acid does to tooth surfaces.

Other than your dentist, the other health professional you need to alert to treat the problem is a gastroenterologist. Until you make contact with a specialist, here are some helpful tips.

-Don’t brush your teeth after an episode of acid reflux. Believe it or not, brushing immediately after is a recipe for more enamel damage. Rinse your mouth out instead.

-Rinsing with baking soda can neutralize the acid in your mouth.

-Chew gum (sugarless) to stimulate saliva flow. Saliva washes teeth and protects them from acid.

-Plenty of fluoride in your mouthwash and toothpaste reduces the risk of enamel damage.

If you are concerned about GERD, call Dr. Kent Nuttall for more information and an evaluation. Please contact Nuttall Smiles to make an appointment at: 253-939-0700, or come by our office in Auburn, Washington.